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PORTAGE | United Steelworkers Local 6787 members have not given up hope on winning tax exempt status for their union hall and banquet and meeting hall along Ind. 149, just south of U.S. 20.

The union has requested a judicial review of the of the Indiana Board of Tax Review's decision in January to uphold a local denial of the exemptions, according to filing documents.

The union argues it is entitled to the exemptions, in part, because it met the obligation of showing the facilities are used predominately for charitable and educational efforts, according the petition. The union also claims it showed its activities meet the public benefit requirement for the exemptions.

Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder disagrees.

"Steelworkers Local 6787 has had many opportunities to resolve this tax exempt issue through local and state jurisdictions," he said.

"At every turn they have been told that a lucrative banquet facility was never intended to be exempt from property taxes," Snyder said. "I will continue to uphold the law in this matter until a final resolution can be reached."

The union local first applied for a 100 percent exemption of the 12,000-square-foot union hall and a 76 percent exemption on the 22,000-square-foot banquet/meeting center in May 2008, according to the state's decision.

The Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals determined in June 2009 that both buildings were 100 percent taxable and the union appealed to the state.

The union local applied for a 100 percent exemption on the union hall and a 71 percent exemption for the banquet/meeting center in May 2010. The PTABOA again determined in August 2011 that both buildings are 100 percent taxable and the union filed a second appeal.

The state tax board heard appeals on both cases in November 2013 and later upheld the local denials.

The decision came just two weeks after the state tax review board determined the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce was not due tax exempt status on its building at 2642 Eleanor St.

The Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce is defending the tax exemption it has on its building at 162 West Lincolnway by applying for a new exemption, Snyder has said.

Snyder and the PTABOA agreed in January to require a variety of entities holding 22 local properties to show why they should continue receiving tax breaks.

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Porter/LaPorte county reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.