Hospital will not be billed $600,000 for economic development as recently
stated by Porter County Auditor Bob Wichlinski.
hospital is to receive a corrected bill by next week for $200,000 due to the
this month from the Auditor’s office had indicated that the hospital owed
the County $600,000, supposedly stemming from the resolution of the ten-year
property tax abatement agreed to by the Porter County Council and the
hospital in 2009.
Wichlinski met with
tax representatives along with County Assessor Jon Snyder during the past
few weeks to configure a new tax bill for the hospital now that the hospital
has been reassessed after years of property assessment appeals which delayed
applying the abatement.
discussions, Wichlinski concluded that the County owes the hospital a refund
of $512,151, the difference between how much the hospital has paid in taxes
on the property so far under the appeals and what credits they would have
received with the abatement.
resolution for the abatement stipulates the hospital must annually give the
County 10 percent of taxes abated, which is capped at $100,000. In other
words, as long as the abated amount is $1 million or more for that year, the
hospital must pay a fee of $100,000 to the County.
Wichlinski said he
believed the rule applied to the hospital’s real property and personal
property, attributing that idea to a report done by Cender and Company.
According to Wichlinski, the tax bill would have been for three years, with
$100,000 for real property and $100,000 for personal property each year, for
a lump sum of $600,000.
The figure of
$600,000 was reported at last week’s Porter County Redevelopment Commis-sion,
which discussed including the amount in its budget.
Council’s attorney Scott McClure said the fee should only apply to real
“From where I’m
sitting, reading [the resolution], the hospital would only owe $200,000” for
2013 and 2014, McClure told the Chesterton Tribune this week.
Council’s budget and financial specialist Vicki Urbanik also questioned the
$600,000 amount. She said she talked with County Council members who were in
office at the time the abatement was approved in 2009 and said they too
thought the fee would only come from real property. “This is something that
should be thoroughly researched and understood by all parties involved,” she
Democrat, is challenging Wichlinski, a Republican, in this November’s
Dan Botich of
Cender and Company, who wrote the report and is also the financial advisor
to the County’s RDC, agreed with McClure. Botich said personal property
couldn’t be assessed a fee because the resolution only applies to fees that
are abated. For the hospital, only its real property, the building itself,
falls under the abatement, he said.
The hospital is
expected to pay up to the $100,000 cap through 2017, about halfway through
the abatement period, Botich said.
Wichlinski told the
Chesterton Tribune he gets the personal property information from the
Assessor’s Office. He has now corrected the bill to $200,000, reflecting the
fee on real property.
The $512,151 due to
the hospital can be refunded by check or by applying the credit to next
year’s tax bill. That will be up to officials at Porter Health, Wichlinski
The hospital will
owe the County $105,326 in taxes for its fall installment for 2014.