North side apartment complex spared from $300K tax bill after making repairs

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A Marion County tax board voted to reinstate a charitable tax exemption for a north side apartment complex three months after managers said they were working to clean things up.

It's been a long year at Lakeside Pointe at Nora apartments, but as the year comes to an end, Bill Shewan and other community members told FOX59 they are pleased with progress at the complex.

"Actually we’re a little shocked ... that it’s been a genuine turnaround," Shewan said.

FOX59 started looking into poor conditions at the complex in April, when residents said they were living without basic necessities like hot water. In June, Marion County health inspectors performed a sweep of the complex, handing out more than 200 repair orders.

Since then, city leaders and neighbors have pushed back, arguing against the complex's out-of-state owners, who have a property tax exemption that gets them out of a $300,000 tax bill. A county tax board suspended the exemption this fall, saying management needed to do more to improve the complex.

"What have you guys been doing with that extra money, you haven’t had to pay taxes?" board member Kevin Robinson said in September.

At that September board meeting, Aloft Management Regional Manager Meagan Scott told Robinson and other board members that she had stepped in to clean things up.

"I’ve been there almost every day trying to make sure these repairs are taken care of," Scott said.

On December 13, the board met again and voted to reinstate the tax exemption because progress had been made at the complex. Shewan spoke at the meeting. He said board members warned Scott that they did not want to have to take up the issue again.

"I think the message got across," Shewan said.

Shewan and other community members are now partnering with the complex to offer services to residents, including the large immigrant population.

"I’m part of a group of neighbors that come in on Saturday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:00 to help residents fill out their maintenance requests," Shewan said.

Managers will need to keep offering affordable housing and charitable services to keep their tax exemption. They also have some outstanding court cases with the Marion County Health Department that will need to be cleared up in the new year.

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