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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "What’s a new hospital worth? In Porter County, it’s debatable"

Amy Lavally, of the Gary Post-Tribune, reports today:

VALPARAISO — The value of Porter Regional Hospital was up for debate again before the Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals on Tuesday.

This time, the issue was the hospital’s value last year.

Assessor Jon Snyder said the value of the hospital on March 1, 2013, was $244.5 million, far greater than the $39 million hospital officials claim.

“The taxpayers of Porter County would suffer a severe injustice” in lost tax revenue with a $39 million assessed valuation, Snyder said. “Hence the debate over what the value of the hospital should be.” * * *

Hospital officials already are appealing the board’s ruling on the hospital’s value for 2012 to the Indiana Board of Tax Review. That followed a December ruling by the property tax appeals board that set the new hospital’s assessment at $117 million.

Snyder had set the hospital’s value at $34 million and hospital officials appealed, at which point the property tax appeals board determined that the hospital’s value should have been $117 million as of March 1, 2012.

This time around, Don Feicht, vice president of taxation for Uzelac and Associates, which is representing the hospital, said the assessment was not done under the guidelines established by the 2011 Real Property Assessment Manual and Guidelines, drafted by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.

Snyder also went beyond the scope of those guidelines by hiring an independent appraiser to determine the hospital’s value.

“True tax value does not mean fair market value,” Feicht said.

But Snyder said the guidelines, which include a property’s cost, sales comparison with similar structures, and income, also can include an outside appraisal.

Bob Kasarda has this story in the NWI Times:
VALPARAISO | Representatives of Porter Regional Hospital accused Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder of going outside state guidelines when hiring an independent appraiser to assess the new hospital and outpatient building at Ind. 49 and U.S. 6.

"We don't know what his methodology was," said Donald Feicht Jr., vice president of taxes at Uzelac & Associates.

The hospital representatives appeared Tuesday morning before the Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals to challenge the $244.5 million assessment, arguing the figure should be $39.3 million.

The lower figure was arrived at using an assessor manual and guidelines provided by the state, Feicht said. He cited other examples of hospitals assessed at lower values and accused Snyder of being the only assessor in the state to go outside the guidelines in this type of work.

Snyder provided the PTABOA members with a copy of the privately-done appraisal, saying it used approaches involving cost, sales comparisons and income. Each approach came to a value that is far closer than 1 percent of one another, he said.

Feicht questioned why the independent appraisal was labeled confidential and kept out of the hands of the public and himself.

"We are the hospital," he said.

Snyder said the confidential status was ordered by the court that forced the hospital to release information said to be needed for the assessment.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 26, 2014 09:22 AM
Posted to Indiana Government