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Galena Business Sees Property Assessment Triple - KOAM TV 7

Galena Business Sees Property Assessment Triple

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GALENA, KANSAS -

Cherokee County appraiser Mark Hixon, has a nearly 300 page document explaining why the county more than tripled the property assessment of Premier Surgical Institute. 

In May of 2015, Galena Medial Properties, LLC., which owns the hospital, asked Hixon to re-assess it's then $11 million appraisal. The county hired an outside appraiser who specializes in hospital assessment. The appraisal went from $11 million to $38.4. Galena Medical Properties is contesting the assessment with the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals. 

"I think it'll be [devastating] for the hospital, to be honest with you," said Joseph Caputo, CEO of Galena Medical properties. 

He says the increased property tax, an estimated $1.6 million a year, cuts into the hospitals already slim profit margins. 

"So I don't have an answer as to how it will affect personnel.But I will tell you it will definitely have a negative impact on operations for the hospital," Caputo said. 

Galena Medical Properties contends the assessment significantly out-paces Kansas state averages.

For reference, Mercy Surgical Center in Ft. Scott, KS is assessed just under $13.8 million. But the Bourbon County appraiser says it has certain exemptions that Galena Medical Properties does not have.

Hixon says the Premiere Surgical Institute appraisal was made with national comparisons, since a prospective buyer wouldn't necessarily be local. 

"The likelihood that it would go up for sale would mean it would be marketed nation-wide," Hixon said. 

"Our big concern is that it's going to negatively impact economic development," Caputo said. "So if they do that with this business, I am very concerned they will continue to do that to other businesses. Which really doesn't create a great incentive for companies like us that moved our business from Missouri to Kansas."

A court date with the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals has not yet been set. Hixon says both sides want the same thing: to find a fair assessment.

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