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Porter Regional Hospital’s assessment is increased after appeal

Updated: December 16, 2013 8:44PM



VALPARAISO — When officials with Porter Regional Hospital appealed their assessment by Porter County, they probably didn’t expect their assessment to go up.

But it is, after the county’s Property Tax Board of Appeals ruled Monday that the assessment for the new hospital, at Ind. 49 and U.S. 6, should have been $117 million on March 1, 2012.

“They appealed (Assessor Jon Snyder’s) decision of 2012, of $34 million. They opened the door for the appeal,” said Joe Wszolek, president of the appeals board.

Officials from the hospital, who did not return a request for comment, tried to withdraw their appeal but missed their deadline, so the appeal proceeded. The hospital opened in late August 2012.

“The process here worked like it was supposed to, protecting taxpayers from an undervalued property,” Snyder said after the meeting.

Snyder presented a wide array of documents to support his point, including those signed by hospital chief executive officer Jonathan Nalli that placed the value of the building at $130 million. Those documents were prepared for the Porter County Council, which granted the hospital a 10-year tax abatement.

The new hospital was 90 percent complete in March 2012, appeals board member Vicki Urbanik said, so its assessed valuation should be $117 million.

Asking for an appeal can raise the specter of a petitioner getting a higher assessment instead of a lower one, though it is unusual, board members said. The hospital project was unusual as well.

“This is a pretty significant case for us,” Urbanik said, adding it was the largest construction project in the county since the establishment of the steel mills. “The assessor asked us to undo the entire assessment from the beginning, not just because of something omitted but because of the entire method.”

Hospital officials also have filed an appeal of the county’s assessment of the hospital for 2013. The filing, made last month, states that the land should be assessed at $1.7 million, and the building at $37.585 million.

The county assessed the land at $1.7 million, but assessed the hospital itself at $242.8 million.

In a related matter, board members decided the 2012 assessed value for the hospital’s old property, at 813 LaPorte Ave., is $18 million.

Hospital officials requested a value of about $14.5 million, the previous year’s value, appealing a value of almost $22.3 million.

The property was later sold to Valparaiso University for an undisclosed amount and the building was torn down.



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