The Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino is set to be assessed by Coyle, Lynch & Company, a Pennsylvania based company who was hired by Luzerne County to determine the value of the property. A contract was posted by the county website, showing the company had been hired and will complete a full analysis of the property and prepare a report, all of which should be completed by the end of March.
There is no current assessment of the casino in the Plains Township as the tax payments were covered by a court ordered assessment by 2007. This agreement expired by the end of last year. The agreement was not tied to a set assessed value.
An outside expert had to be hired by the county assessor’s office as there was no set valuation ready when the court order ran out. The officials of the county wanted an expert to evaluate the casino since they are complicated. Other counties in Pennsylvania have taken a similar approach to the evaluation of their casinos.
Back in October, HVS Gaming was hired by county officials, a company based in San Francisco, for the price of $92,000. This contract was canceled in December after officials discovered that the company had completed appraisal work for another casino that had an affiliation with the Connecticut Mohegan Sun. The prior work could have been a conflict of interest if the county needed HVS to provide testimony in an assessment challenge on a court-level that could be filed by the local Mohegan Sun. The county was alerted and HVS was not paid.
The new contract with Coyle, Lynch & Company will see the representatives paid an additional hourly fee that will range from $100 to $350 if they are asked to prepare and provide testimony as well as attend hearings for an assessment challenge next year. Testimony fees would have a cap of $25,000 for 2017.
According to Anthony Alu, the County Assessment Office Director, the delay will not allow the casino to escape taxation this year. The tax bill for 2016 for the casino will be mailed later on this year and have a January 1st retroactive date.
The 2015 tax payment of the Mohegan Sun, at $2.9 million, was not linked to a specific assessment amount. The property was charged taxes based on a value of $125 million due to current tax rates.