APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX
ATTORNEYS FOR PETITIONER: PATRICK L. JESSUP MICHAEL M. YODER
YODER & KRAUS P.C. Kendallville, IN.
ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT: CURTIS T. HILL, JR. ATTORNEY
GENERAL OF INDIANA MATTHEW R. ELLIOTT REBECCA MCCLAIN WINSTON
LIN DEPUTY ATTORNEYS GENERAL Indianapolis, IN.
LLC challenges the final determination of the Indiana Board
of Tax Review that established the assessed value of its real
property for the 2016 tax year. Upon review, the Court
affirms the Indiana Board's final determination.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
is in the business of acquiring, remediating, and reselling
contaminated properties. (Cert. Admin. R. at 162.) In June
2014, Garrett purchased for $1.00 the former Dalton Foundry,
a property located in Kendallville, Indiana that was owned by
the Dalton Corporation and had been vacant since 2009. (Cert.
Admin. R. at 55, 59-60.)
purchasing the property, Garrett hired contractors to do both
a Phase I and Phase II evaluation of the property's
environmental contamination, which disclosed that its soil
and ground water contained chlorinated solvents and metal
contamination. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 164-65, 182.)
In addition, the evaluations revealed that the property was
covered with foundry sand, requiring two feet of clay surface
and a foot of topsoil in order to build on it. (Cert. Admin.
R. at 183-84.)
entered a Voluntary Remediation Program with the State of
Indiana that exchanged a covenant not to sue for the
remediation of the property. (See Cert. Admin. R. at
185-86.) Garrett sold a ten-acre portion of the property,
referred to as The Mound, at a discount to East Noble School
Corporation for building a new middle school. (Cert. Admin.
R. at 165-67, 177-78.) The sale proceeds helped Garrett fund
both the demolition of the old Dalton factory and the
environmental cleanup costs. (Cert. Admin. R. at 178.)
assessment date of March 1, 2015, the Noble County Assessor
valued the property at $200, 000: $72, 600 for 25.03 acres of
land and $127, 400 for the improvements. (Cert. Admin. R. at
87-88, 154-55.) Garrett protested the assessment to the Noble
County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA).
After an informal meeting, the Assessor did not lower the
$200, 000 assessed value, but did agree to reallocate the
property's assessed value by reducing the land value to
$68, 900 and increasing the value of the improvements to
$131, 100. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 56-58, 87.) The
parties signed a Form 134 - Joint Report by Taxpayer /
Assessor to the County Board of Appeals of a Preliminary
Informal Meeting (Form 134) to that effect on March 16, 2015.
(Cert. Admin. R. at 56-58.)
20, 2015, Garrett transferred 4.75 acres of the property to
Garrett Well, LLC. (Cert. Admin. R. at 67-68, 168.)
Thereafter, Garrett demolished all the buildings on the
portion of the property it retained. (See Cert.
Admin. R. at 169-71, 177-78.)
assessment date of January 1, 2016, the Assessor valued the
property at $131, 700: $121, 700 for 20.28 acres of land and
$10, 000 for improvements. (Cert. Admin. R. at 89-90.)
Garrett protested the 2016 assessment to the PTABOA and the
PTABOA reduced the total assessed value to $105, 400: $95,
400 for the land and $10, 000 for the improvements.
(See Cert. Admin. R. at 5-9, 89.) Still
dissatisfied, Garrett pursued an appeal with the Indiana
Board. (Cert. Admin. R. at 1-2.)
August 3, 2017, the Indiana Board conducted a hearing on
Garrett's appeal. During the hearing, Garrett claimed
that its land had zero value, but indicated it would be
willing to accept the previously agreed upon land value of
$68, 900 because the property had not been changed since
then. (Cert. Admin. R. at 160-61, 193.) In support, Garrett
presented: (1) evidence that it purchased the contaminated
property for $1.00 from Dalton Corporation in 2014, (2) a
list of properties it considered "comparable" with
their property tax records, and (3) the Form 134 from its
2015 PTABOA appeal. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 55-66,
November 1, 2017, the Indiana Board issued its final
determination, concluding that Garrett had provided
undisputed probative evidence for reducing the 2016
assessment of improvements by demonstrating that no buildings
remained on the property on the January 1, 2016, assessment
date. (Cert. Admin. R. at 111-12 ¶¶
17(n), (o), (p), 18.) The Indiana Board further concluded,
however, that Garrett's evidence was not probative of the
property's 2016 market value-in-use. (Cert. Admin. R. at
111 ¶ 17(m).) Accordingly, the Indiana Board left the
land valuation of $95, 400 unchanged. (See Cert.
Admin. R. at 112 ¶ 18.)
December 13, 2017, Garrett initiated this original tax
appeal. Additional facts will be supplied as necessary.
party seeking to overturn an Indiana Board final
determination bears the burden of demonstrating its
invalidity. Osolo Twp. Assessor v. Elkhart Maple Lane
Assocs., 789 N.E.2d 109, 111 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2003). Thus,
to prevail Garrett must demonstrate to the Court that the
Indiana Board's final determination is arbitrary,
capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in
accordance with law; contrary to constitutional right, power,
privilege or immunity; in excess of or short of statutory
jurisdiction, authority, or limitations; without ...