The disagreement appears to be over between the Parker County Tax Appraisal District and Weatherford Regional Medical Center, as the two reached a settlement regarding a lawsuit stemming from an increase in the hospital’s appraisal.
“I still feel good about the $60 million appraisal,” said Larry Hammonds, Parker County Chief Tax Appraiser. “The fact [WRMC] have signed a lease for $49 million and added another $50 million in improvements...there were a lot of moving parts that created the illusion that there was $100 million involved in this so we felt like putting a $60 million taxable value on it was reasonable.”
Hammonds said that in 2008, when the hospital first became a taxable property, it paid $18 million.
“They added on $27 million so we bumped it up to $40 million - no protest,” Hammond said. “In 2011, they added on $27 million in improvements so we bumped it up to $60 million. That’s when they decided it was too high and filed a protest and, ultimately, a lawsuit.”
Hammond said the board ordered a special appraisal done by a MAI certified appraiser, who said the hospital’s value was in fact between $46-$47 million.
“Ours is a little higher, but it would be awfully difficult for us to hold to the $60 million that we have locally approved when our expert is saying something different,” Hammond said. “One of the main issues was, if we lowered it from $60 million to $47 million there would be a sizable refund.”
He said other entities that benefit from the hospital’s revenue would have to write refunds that would be harmful to them.
“So the [hospital] agreed to accept our value of $46-$47 million for 2012, 13, 14 and 15,” Hammond said. “In lieu of an actual refund check to be written, they would actually allow us to give them a credit in future years with the tax being lower in 2015, 16, and 17 to account for the total amount of refund.”
He said the hospital also agreed to not charge interest.
“Overall I think it’s good settlement offer,” Hammond added. “No checks will be written, no interest to be paid and no court cost.”
But not everyone at the meeting was so understanding.
“I have a hard time understanding why we were so many dollars off,” said Frank Martin, Chairman of the Weatherford College Board of Trustees. “The issue I have is that nobody knew of this for two years. Are there any plans that would prevent this from happening again?”
Martin also asked if there were other lawsuits pending.
“We agree that you should have been notified,” said Braden Metcalf, attorney for the PCAD, adding that other lawsuits were pending but not to the magnitude of the one in question.
Martin suggested the appraisal district place on its website pending litigation to help with transparency.
“I suspect you’re going to have a backlash from this and see more questions come up from some of the larger businesses,” Martin said.
Hammond said it was possible but that it has become “vogue” for people to file lawsuits that would lead to negotiations and arbitration because the entities have nothing to lose. He added that he felt the settlement was sufficient.
2015 Lawsuits filed
▪ Lowes Home Center $7,162,810
▪ Santa Fe Corner (Sears store and office building) $1,859,230
▪ Larry Brammer (Industrial Buildings on Bear Cat Rd.) $3,522,460
▪ MAH Management (McDonald’s in Hudson Oaks) $1,398,060
▪ Walgreen’s (Personal prop. Hudson Oaks and S. Main) $4,063,380
▪ Weatherford Plaza (Parker Plaza Shopping Center) $5,441,450
▪ Holland Lake Apartments $16,478,740
▪ Target Store $8,117,980
▪ Prem Hospitality (Quality Inn) $1,252,950
▪ Npak Inc. (Hampton Inn Express) $2,654,980
▪ Panchal Investments (Holiday Inn Express) $4,641,560
▪ Store House Self Storage and Compass Storage $3,791,610
▪ CDM Resources Management (Gas Compressors) $4,016,930
▪ Total value $64,402,140