Conemaugh's real estate tax bill cut $550k per year after settlement with Cambria County

Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown, Pa., will have less to pay in hospital taxes thanks to a recently announced settlement, reports The Tribune-Democrat.

Here are four things to know about the settlement.

1. The settlement was approved by Cambria County commissioners on the hospital's appeal of the county's assessment on properties the health system owns in Johnstown, according to the article. These properties include the main campus in the Eighth Ward section of Johnstown and the Lee Campus in downtown Johnstown.

"This was worked out by the tax assessment counsel, Tom Swope, based on a compromise between the two appraisals," county Solicitor William G. Barbin said at the commissioners' meeting, reports The Tribune-Democrat. "The city and school board also agreed to the settlement."

2. Through the settlement, Conemaugh Health System's county real estate tax bill has been reduced by about $550,000 a year. According to the county, the $550,000 is the difference in what the county had the buildings originally assessed at and the new assessed values agreed to by all parties. 

3. Conemaugh, which was previously a nonprofit entity, began paying real estate taxes two years ago, when the for-profit Brentwood, Tenn.-based Duke LifePoint Healthcare completed its acquisition of the system, according to the report. However, the taxes, based on the county's appraisal, were paid under protest and Duke LifePoint had its own appraisals done, the report notes. Additionally, according to the report, a portion of the payments was put into escrow pending a decision on the appeal.

4. Per the settlement, the county will refund about $1.1 million from taxes paid over the past two years, reports The Tribune-Democrat. It will immediately refund about $750,000 held in escrow and refund the remaining $350,000 through reduced tax bills for two years, chief clerk Michael Gelles said, according to the report.


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