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Exelon, Byron Schools appeal plant's asessment

Exelon Nuclear filed an appeal over the value of the Byron Generating Station. File 
Exelon Nuclear filed an appeal over the value of the Byron Generating Station. File photo

Exelon Nuclear officials and Byron School District officials are at odds with each other and the Ogle County Supervisor of Assessments over the value Byron Generating Station.

Both filed appeals last week of the 2012 assessment set in October for taxes payable in 2013.

Ogle County Supervisor of Assessment Jim Harrison said the appeals of the $499 million assessment  were filed Nov. 12. Two parcels comprise the site of Exelon's nuclear power plant on North German Church Road south of Byron.

Exelon's appeal sets the plant's 2012 value at $296 million, while the school district's appeal says the plant is worth almost 2 and 1/2 times as much or $731 million.

The Byron School District is one of 11 taxing bodies which receive real estate taxes from the plant.

In 2012 the school district received more than $17 million in tax revenues of the more than $30 million paid by Exelon for the plant.

Other taxing bodies which receive taxes from the nuclear plant include Ogle County, Rockvale Township, Oregon School District, Oregon Park District, Byron Fire District, Rock Valley College, Byron Public Library District, Byron Museum District, Byron Forest Preserve District, and Kishwaukee Community College.

Exelon's assessment would generate a total tax bill of more than $18 million next year, while the school district's figure would mean the taxing bodies would share $46 million.

Harrison said that he received two appraisals of the plant in September and considered both of them when setting the 2012 assessment.

"I took some elements of both," he said.

Harrison said he also considered the current assessments of the Exelon's Braidwood and LaSalle nuclear plants when setting the value.

The assessment of Braidwood, considered Byron's "sister" plant is set at $470 million, and LaSalle's value is $500 million.

Harrison said the Ogle County Board of Review will hear the appeals in late January.

A four-year agreement between the taxing bodies and Exelon for the plant's assessment expired at the end of 2011.

The agreement, approved in November of 2010, set the assessed value of the nuclear plant at $450 million for 2008, $460 million in 2009, $470 million in 2010, and $480 million in 2011. Besides setting the plant's value, the  agreement settled a lawsuit and numerous tax appeals filed between 2005 and 2008.

The value of the Byron Generating Station has frequently been disputed throughout the history of the facility.

Commonwealth Edison, which then owned the plant, filed its first tax in 1989 when the assessment was more than $1 billion.

The following year, the affected taxing bodies formed the Ogle County Intergovernmental Agency Board to fight the tax appeals.

The first multi-year agreement, approved in early 1998, set the assessments for 1997-2004 at $471 million and settled a decade of lawsuits and tax appeals.

Construction of the Byron Generating Station began in 1975. The first reactor started producing electricity in 1985 and the second went on line in 1987.

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