Hammond business loses property tax appeal
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent May 22, 2013 4:20PM
Updated: June 24, 2013 2:01PM
CROWN POINT — Morrison Construction will not get an additional 35 percent reduction in the assessed property value of its Hammond headquarters.
Tuesday the Lake County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals ruled against granting the 35 percent reduction requested by property tax consultant Don Feicht with Uzelac & Associates of Valparaiso. Feicht is representing Morrison Construction in the matter.
The appeal was for the seven Summer Street parcels, each home to a different building, that make up the Hammond headquarters of the company. The buildings were acquired by Morrison over the years as the company expanded.
Feicht argued that if an investor were to construct the same facility today, only one building would be built on the land that would accomplish the same purpose, not seven. Therefore, he argued, the property should be valued at its replacement cost. The properties already receive an 80 percent depreciation deduction due to their age.
“This is standard appraisal technique. You cannot just stop at physical depreciation,” Feicht said.
Hearing officer Robert Metz disagreed with Feicht’s interpretation of the rules and how they are applied in Lake County.
“It is my opinion we are assessing as is, not what if,” Metz said.
Feicht is trying to use a procedure with additional obsolescence to property that is not necessarily recognized by Lake County, Metz said. The procedure typically deals with inventory and personal property. Currently all seven of the buildings are in use in some capacity, mostly for warehousing construction equipment and supplies.
Feicht said he plans to appeal the PTABOA decision to the state tax board.