Chrysler appealing assessed value
Company seeks a 48 percent reductionBy KEN de la BASTIDE
Tribune enterprise editor
Chrysler Corp. is seeking to reduce the amount of property taxes it will pay this year for the two transmission plants on the north side of Kokomo.
Chrysler officials have filed an appeal of the assessed value of the two plants, which opened in 1998 and 2003, with Howard County Assessor Jamie Shepherd.
The two plants currently have an assessed value for 2007 taxes payable in 2008 of $106,542,000 for the 283.64-acre site and the buildings.
The company wants the assessed value reduced to $55 million. Shepherd said the plants have never been assessed at $55 million.
Shepherd said Chrysler is not appealing the personal property (equipment) in the two facilities or at the Kokomo Casting Plant and the Kokomo Transmission Plant.
“In the past, the assessor and company officials would do a walk-through of the plants and agree on a price per square foot,” she said. “We couldn’t get a walk-through this year.”
Shepherd said the county was close to reaching an agreement with Chrysler in which it would drop the appeal and a walk-through would take place in 2009. She said the person negotiating for Chrysler no longer works for the company.
The county, using state guidelines, has set the assessed value at $49.62 per square foot and Chrysler wants the assessed value set at $25.
“The assessed value of the two plants increased by less than 2 percent,” Shepherd said of the 2007 pay 2008 rate.
The county has hired R&E Research to perform an analysis of the data provided by Chrysler and the county.
“We need to know why Chrysler believes it should be the lower assessment,” Shepherd said. “The data they are using is comparable to sales in several other states, including Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Nevada.”
Shepherd said Indiana uses a market-value comparison based on use of the industrial space and several other states use market-value based on an exchange. She said the two Indiana transmission plants were built and designed for the automotive industry.
Once the analysis is completed there will be a township conference to discuss the evidence presented by Chrysler and R&E Research.
“I would like to reach an agreement,” Shepherd said. “Chrysler is a big component of our community, beyond the payment of taxes.”
Shepherd said during the appeal process, Chrysler will pay taxes on the two plants based on the 2006 pay 2007 assessment.
“Once I received notice of the appeal, I discussed it with all county officials,” she said. “It would be a big loss of our tax base.”
Shepherd said companies across Indiana are filing appeals on their industrial space and precedents could be set that impact appeals in other counties.