Chesterton Tribune



Property tax assessments good news and bad news for Duneland

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Porter County continues to see a downward trend in its overall assessments this year.

According to the figures computed by the Countyís Auditor and Assessor offices, the overall adjusted net assessed value is $8.368 billion countywide for 2013 pay 2014, which is a $52 million drop compared to last year.

Assessment notices, or Form 11s, were mailed by the assessorís office to county taxpayers on Sept. 21 in which the majority saw their assessments decrease.

In Duneland however, some taxing units saw their numbers climb, particularly in Westchester, Jackson and Liberty townships.

For the Duneland School District, the auditorís office reports a dip of 0.6 percent in the 2013 pay 2014 adjusted net AV with an overall figure of $2.391 billion.

According to adjusted net assessment figures from the auditorís office, which applies credits to the gross assessed values to come up with the net assessment, the biggest value drops by percentage were seen in the Town of Porter with $26.5 million less than last year (a difference of 11.4 percent) and the Town of Pines with $3 million less (a difference of 12.5 percent).

County Assessor Jon Snyder said appeals were the chief reason assessments were down in the Town of Porter. One appeal granted was to Worthington Steel, whose assessment was modified by more than $17 million last year, Snyder said.

The total assessed value for the Town of Porter this year is $205.9 million compared to 2012ís $232.4 million.

A few more properties on the commercial side saw shifts in assessments this year, including the former Splash Down Dunes water park property which is now owned by Seven Peaks Inc., Snyder said.

Chestertonís AV slid 2.1 percent. Burns Harborís fell 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, on the upswing, the taxing unit with the most growth this year was unincorporated Westchester Township by a factor of 6.9 percent with a total of $228.4 million, an increase of $14.7 million from 2012, which Snyder attributes to construction of higher end homes. Jackson Township and Liberty Township unincorporated zones both saw their numbers rise.

By percentage, Portage City-Westchester grew the most with a 10.3 percent increase over last year, moving from $6.0 million in 2012 to $6.2 million this year, the auditorís office said.

Liberty Twp./Porter Hospital

Also, Liberty Townshipís current adjusted AV is $365.9 million, roughly a $10 million boost over 2012, or 2.7 percent.

That does not include the assessment of Porter Regional Hospital, located at Ind. 49 and U.S. 6., Snyder said that an appraiser has been given the documents he needs to put an accurate value on the 480,000 sq. ft. facility, which was previously assessed in 2012 at $34.2 million when construction was 90 percent complete.

In July, Snyder had filed a writ to force production of documents needed to complete the assessment after suspecting that figure should be much higher. He and the hospital came to an agreement they would provide 26 of the 28 documents requested to complete the appraisal.

Snyder said the appraisal may be complete sometime next week and he will notify the press of the results.


Almost 60,000 assessment notices were sent out by Snyderís office this year with 20,000 more from the Portage Assessorís office. According to the regulations laid out by state code, residents wanting to file an appeal must do so within 45 days with the Assessorís office.

The last day to file would be Monday, Nov. 4, Snyder said.

Snyder had forecast a gentler year for appeals since his office ďlearned many lessonsĒ last year and so far that holds true. The number of appeals by last Friday tallied 155 (95 online and 60 in person), compared to 750 at this same time in 2012.

ďI think it means that we are making more accurate assessments,Ē Snyder said.

Taxpayers may file their appeals in person at the County Administration Building or online at Porter County is the only county in Indiana with an online appeal system available to the taxpayers, Snyder said.

Snyder commented that there has been a higher volume of home sales in the county and market values have remained flat, yet stable.

The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance will certify the AV later this year and will issue the 2014 budget orders for Porter County which traditionally happens in February.


The taxing units from Duneland that grew their adjusted AVs this year are as follows (in parentheses are the amount of increase and the percentage compared to 2012):

Westchester Twp. (unincorporated) -- $228,373,784 (+$14,703,798, 6.9%)

Chesterton-Liberty Township -- $104,739,517 (+$1,845,665, 1.8%)

Chesterton-Jackson Twp. -- $17,121,364 (+$1,596,733, 10.3%)

Portage City-Westchester -- $6,225,032 (+$223,864, 3.7%)

Liberty Twp. (unincorporated) -- $365,903,997 (+$9,953,422, 2.7%)

Jackson Twp. (unincorporated) -- $339,264,809 (+$1,882,506, .55%)

Pine Twp. Duneland Schools -- $35,994,209 (+$268,682, .8%)


The taxing units from Duneland with lower adjusted AVs this year are as follows (in parentheses are the amount of decrease and the percentage compared to 2012):

Chesterton Civil Town -- $602,735,880 (-$13,035,080, 2.1%)

Chesterton-Westchester Twp. -- $497,352,477 (-$16,477,478, 3.3%)

Porter Civil Town -- $205,880,678 (-$26,561,415, 11.4%)

Burns Harbor Civil Town -- $507,632,034 (-$1,087,676, .2%)

Beverly Shores Civil Town -- $169,431,392 (-$4,595,444, 2.6%)

Pines Civil Town -- $20,962,923 (-$2,996,188, 12.5%)

Dune Acres Civil Town -- $99,295,629 (-$960,135, .9%)


The following are the total amounts for the four Duneland townships including unincorporated and town portions (in parentheses are the amount of increase or decrease and the percentage compared to 2012):

Westchester Twp. -- $1,528,282,206 (-$30,159,042, 1.9%)

Liberty Twp -- $470,643,514 (+$11,799,087, 2.6%)

Jackson Twp. -- $356,386,173 (+$3,479,239, 1%)

Pine Twp. -- $273,894,544 (-$6,642,022, 2.3%)



Posted 10/4/2013





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