Three local taxpayers — Daisy Farms, Turner Industries and Paris Regional Medical Center — are not happy with property appraisals and have filed litigation against Lamar County Appraisal District.
The district currently is in court-ordered arbitration with the entities in an attempt to resolve disputes before the matter heads to the courtroom, according to Austin attorney Jim Evans with Low, Swinney, Evans & James.
In the Daisy Dairy case, the appraisal district values the farm and equipment at $100 million while Daisy claims its property is worth $20 million.
“We base our appraisal on what it cost to build the dairy back in 2008 less depreciation,” Evans said. “Daisy claims the property would not sell for more than $20 million in the open market.”
Therein lies the dispute both on appraisals for the 2018 and 2019 tax years.
After a couple of mediation meetings, the latest this past Thursday, Evans said the two parties have yet to reach an agreement on the 2018 appraisal and have not yet started discussions about the 2019 appraisal, which he said is only slightly less.
“The farm was built as an experimental dairy with buildings and equipment costing much more than a normal dairy farm, but still it cost more than $100 million to build, and building costs are what appraisal districts use to base appraisals,” he said.
Evans did not comment on what steps might remain before the case goes to trial.
The case with Turner Industries concerns an office building constructed in 2016 at the manufacturing facility, 1200 19th St. SW. The appraisal district set a value of roughly $4.9 million while Turner claims the building is worth $1.840 million, according to Evans.
“The arbitrator in the case has set a Feb. 29 date for expert witness testimony but Turner has not showed us anything yet,” Evans said.
Paris Regional Medical Center’s litigation is based on the appraisal district removing a $27.2 million tax abatement after the City of Paris ended the 10-year, 100% abatement initiated in 2013 because of the closing of the health care center’s south campus in June 2018.
“My understanding is the hospital breached the abatement because of the closing of the south campus,” Evans said. “Without the abatement, the hospital owes a total of more than $1 million since 2013.
“The parties are talking,” Evans said about current negotiations.
When questioned about the city’s position with Paris Regional, City Attorney Stephanie Harris replied by email, “The matter remains unresolved for the time being.”
An attempt Friday to reach attorneys representing Daisy Dairy, Turner Industries and Paris Regional was unsuccessful.