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March 7, 2014

New Albany to battle Home Depot, Meijer tax appeal

State board to weigh case in May

NEW ALBANY — A state board will decide in May if The Home Depot and Meijer’s property tax assessments in New Albany are too much, as city and Floyd County officials are prepared to fight the appeal.

The Indiana Board of Tax Review, or IBTR, will hear the case. In November, New Albany hired a Real Estate firm to represent the city against The Home Depot and Meijer.

Floyd County Assessor Trish Byrd is also assisting the city in fighting the appeal.

The Home Depot, located at 2239 State St., and Meijer, located at 4206 Charlestown Road, are major contributors to tax-increment financing districts.

According to David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for the city, the sides are so far apart on what’s being suggested as a tax assessment that it’s difficult to estimate the hit New Albany would take if the property value changes.

But the difference shouldn’t be enough to interfere with any of the current debt the city has through TIF projects, Duggins continued.

However, he expressed disappointment that Meijer and The Home Depot, who are located off roads improved through TIF projects, are attempting to lower their tax responsibility.

“It’s a corporate wide strategy by Meijer and The Home Depot to do this in Indiana,” Duggins said, as he added The Home Depot has challenged its assessment amount in other cities in the state.

Messages left at the corporate offices for The Home Depot and Meijer Friday afternoon hadn’t been returned as of press time.

Duggins said Meijer and The Home Depot aren’t being good corporate citizens by attempting to lower their tax assessments, as he added those are the only major retailers in the city challenging their status.

“You don’t see Kroger doing this,” Duggins said.

Byrd wasn’t immediately available for comment Friday afternoon, but Duggins said she’s been an excellent partner with the city in preparing a defense to combat the appeal.

While no major projects slated for the State Street and Charlestown Road TIF districts may be affected by the appeal, Duggins said overturning the tax rate for The Home Depot and Meijer could impact other improvements for the areas, such as upgrades to streets that feed into Charlestown Road and State Street.

He added that TIF funds were the driving force in making the property where Meijer sits accessible to the public, and that The Home Depot also enjoys the benefits of tax-funded projects.

“Meijer is a participant in those improvements and should be a participant in paying it back,” Duggins said Friday. “What gets people to The Home Depot is the ability to drive on those streets.”


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