Auditor Robert Wichlinski said he will be getting parties together for a
meeting that he hopes will clarify what Porter Regional Hospital will owe in
taxes following the County Councilís decision to allow the hospital to
retain its ten-year abatement.
Wichlinski said he
will be making phone calls after distributing this yearís first round of tax
revenue disbursements to the countyís local taxing units. The goal, he said,
is to have the correct values for the hospital -- the building, the land,
and all personal property -- included in the countyís net AV figures for
next yearís tax bills due to the state by Aug. 1.
County Assessor Jon
Snyder gave the new valuations on the hospitalís personal and real property
to the County Council last Tuesday after the hospital agreed to a $130
million assessed value for years 2013 and 2014 on the hospital itself.
Hospital officials also vowed to drop all pending appeals on the 430,000 sq.
ft. facility at Ind. 49 and U.S. 6.
As a result, the
County Council voted 5-1, with one abstention, to affirm Porter Regional
Hospital is in compliance with its property tax abatement resolution.
But even with the
new valuations, Wichlinski said ďWe donít know what the net effect of the
hospital will be quite yet with respect to the tax rates.Ē Thatís what he
hopes to accomplish in a joint meeting of the Assessor, the Treasurer,
hospital representatives, the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance
and Jim Bennett, the Auditorís paid financial advisor, who will read through
the abatement agreement.
ďI want to get all
involved parties together and figure what has been calculated and what has
been paid,Ē said Wichlinski.
According to County
Treasurer Mike Bucko, the hospital paid its bill for 2012 pay 2013 taxes at
$595,434 for its two installments when it was originally assessed at $34
million. It paid one installment of $297,709 the following year because it
was under appeal, Bucko said. When a taxpayer appeals, they are billed the
previously agreed assessment, he said.
Wichlinski said in
April he mailed amended tax bills totaling $5.5 million to the hospital
based on the assessed values figured by the Porter County Property Tax
Assessment Board of Appeals. Those bills were $117 million for 2012 and
$244.5 million for 2013. The hospital did not pay those citing the appeal to
the Indiana Board of Tax Review.
office will mail the hospital corrected tax bills with the final figures
from the assessorís office once the deductions are applied, said Wichlinski.
He also plans to report to the respective taxing units how they will be
affected by the hospitalís taxes, and share the data on how local taxpayers
will be affected through the press.
Those who will see
the most changes are residents in Liberty Twp., Wichlinski said. Despite
claims last week by some local officials that the taxpayers there will see
their burdens eased with the hospitalís AV, Wichlinski said it is too early
to determine if the tax rate will drop.
Liberty Twp.ís tax
rate this year was 1.7230, slightly lower than 2013ís rate of 1.740.
To come up with the
tax rate, units of government including the county, township, library and
fire districts submit their budgets for the year to the Indiana DLGF, which
sets a tax levy, or how much each unit may raise in property taxes. The rate
is then determined by the total tax levy divided by total net assessed value
per $100, according to the DLGFís website.
Wichlinski said his
office also looks to bill the hospitalís 60,000 sq. ft. adjacent medical
office building, which is not owned by Porter Health Systems but by The
Sanders Trust, which will get a separate parcel number and will be put on
the tax rolls. The office had been included in the hospitalís initial
assessment of $244.5 million in 2013, but has been separated from the new
value of $130 million and is not part of the hospitalís abatement.
Snyder told the
Chesterton Tribune he plans to assess the office building according to
the guidelines in the Indiana Assessors Manual.
ďItís not like the
hospital in terms of complexity. Itís something we should be able to do in