Chesterton Tribune

 

 

County Council and auditor seek answers on hospital tax abatement

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Wrapping up what will be their final regular meeting for the year, the Porter County Council said it would schedule a meeting next year to revisit the property tax abatement for Porter Regional Hospital in Liberty Twp.

Council members have asked when the 10-year abatement for the hospital granted in 2009 is supposed to start, whether it should start with the first complete assessment or earlier.

County Auditor Bob Wichlinski said he had his attorney John Schmaltz look into documents in the auditor’s office regarding the abatement to offer the Council his interpretation of the facts.

According to Wichlinski, Schmaltz purports the following:

*  No abatement has been applied during the years 2011, 2012, 2013 for the purpose of calculating the hospital’s tax bills.

*  For each of the three years, no abatement deduction form or compliance statement has been filed.

*  The hospital has been billed taxes in 2011, 2012 and 2013 for $7,593, $6,651, and $595,434 respectively.

*  There is insufficient information on whether the abatement was to be applied to the land and structures for each year.

*  In 2009, upon petitioning for the abatement, the hospital said that it would retain 1,500 existing jobs and by the “end of year two” 126 new jobs would be created as a result of building the new facility.

*  Based on the records from the auditor’s office, it is ambiguous as to whether the Council made a determination on the number of years the deduction is to be applied.

County Council President Bob Poparad, D-At Large, said hospital officials will be invited to the meeting as will the auditor and the assessor to present their views on the abatement to the Council.

 

 

Posted 11/29/2013