Ameristar will appeal tax assessment to state
By Chelsea Schneider Kirk firstname.lastname@example.org June 29, 2011 5:02PM
Updated: October 30, 2011 12:30AM
Ameristar’s bid to reduce the assessed value of its East Chicago casino by $80 million now moves on to the state.
The Lake County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals unanimously voted to deny three of the casino’s appeals on Wednesday. Ameristar wants the assessed value for its casino cut to $39 million from $119 million, according to East Chicago financial adviser Jim Bennett.
The city of East Chicago will pay for the state appeals because the casino falls within a tax-increment financing district.
“Just so this board knows the county is not going to spend a dime appealing this to the next level,” said county attorney John Dull at Wednesday’s meeting.
Bennett said East Chicago agreed to its involvement in the appeals.
“The county has very restricted funding capabilities to do that,” Bennett said.
“We’ve agreed we will proceed with the appeals.”
The three appeals denied on Wednesday join others Ameristar currently has at the state level, an Indianapolis-based attorney for the casino, Stephen Paul, said. Lake County Assessor Hank Adams said an earlier agreement set Ameristar’s assessed value at around $157 million.
East Chicago draws $3.6 million from the TIF district, and if Ameristar wins the appeals, the TIF would go into the negative, impacting North Harbor redevelopment plans, Bennett said.
“It would dramatically impact us financially,” said Bennett, who explained the situation becomes more problematic because of an outstanding bond.