Most Appeals Denied

Less money for the agencies to provide services.

More money for the governments to provide different services.

When they heard their tax-exempt status was being repealed, representatives of seven Warren County entities met with the Warren County Assessment Board of Appeals in October.

Only one of the seven – Habitat for Humanity – was notified that it would remain tax exempt because it doesn’t own property longer than it takes to build homes for eligible families who will take on the responsibility of paying the taxes.

On Wednesday, the other six – Warren General Hospital, the Rouse, the Warren County YMCA, Warren County Memorial Park, the Crary Home, and Calvary Chapel – received bad news. Their appeal hearings were not successful.

Each organization has 30 days to file an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas.

If the assessment board’s decisions stand, some of the entities will have to pay property taxes on all of their property and others will pay on a portion.

Warren General Hospital stands to pay the most. All of the hospital’s properties that were not already taxed, were determined taxable. The fair market value of those properties adds up to almost $39 million. The total 2012 tax rate for properties in the City of Warren, including city, county, and Warren County School District taxes, is about 8.65 percent of the assessed value – half of the fair market value. The hospital would owe a total tax bill in the neighborhood of $1.7 million.

The Rouse does not have to pay on its nursing home and the 10 acres immediately surrounding it, saving taxes on a market value of more than $6.5 million. However, the rest of the property – about $5.8 million worth – was ruled taxable. Using a slightly lower multiplier for Brokenstraw Township, the Rouse will owe about $220,000 in taxes this year for the first time.

The YMCA owes for all of its property. At a fair market value of $4,125,000, the organization will have to pay more than $170,000 in real estate taxes.

“The amount of tax that will be levied on us will seriously curtail the amount of service that we will be able to provide the public,” CEO Thad Turner said Thursday.

The taxes due on the seven properties of the Crary Home with a combined market value of $735,472 will be almost $32,000.

The huge majority of the property at Warren County Memorial Park is exempt from taxation. The remaining property a building that contains an apartment where the caretakers live has a value of $65,604 and will be taxed about $2,500.

Similarly, the greater portion of Calvary Chapel is tax exempt. For the $35,104 portion that is taxable, the organization will owe almost $1,500.

Some of the organizations indicated Thursday they will appeal the board’s decision.

Turner said he is in contact with the national and state organizations of the YMCA, considering options moving forward.

Warren County Commissioner Stephen Vanco and his fellow commissioners, who serve as three of the five Rouse trustees, are in a unique position.

“We are going to set up a meeting next week and meet as a (Rouse) board and discuss” whether or not to appeal the ruling,” Vanco said. “I know that management would like to appeal.”

“We have a lot of information to gather yet, both as a Rouse board member and a commissioner,” he said. “It is a unique position.”

“I know that the community wants to see tax money coming in so they can have services, but (doing so) at the expense of the YMCA and other organizations is not the way to go,” Turner said.