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Exelon appeals Byron plant's tax assessment

Published: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 3:03 p.m. CDT
Caption
Exelon's Byron Generating Station is located on German Church Road between Oregon and Byron. File photo

Exelon Nuclear officials have filed a tax appeal asking that the assessment of the Byron Generating Station is cut in half.

According to their appeal filed Nov. 12, Exelon contends the value of the generating station totals $252,937,302, just 49.6 percent of the $509,444,605 set by Ogle County Supervisor of Assessments Jim Harrison.

The appeal is for the generating station’s 2013 assessment, which affects taxes payable in 2014.

The assessment is slightly higher than the $499 million set by Harrison last year.

“I bumped it up based on the assessments of other nuclear plants and the likelihood that a license extension will be granted,” Harrison said Dec. 6.

Exelon has applied for a 20-year extension to its current licenses, which expire in 2025 and 2027.

Exelon officials also appealed last year’s assessment, but the Ogle County Board of Review (BOR) upheld the value set by Harrison.

Exelon appealed the BOR decision to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board, which has not yet made its ruling.

The BOR will hear this year’s appeal in January.

Exelon paid more than $32 million in real estate taxes this year to 11 taxing bodies, which include Ogle County, Rockvale Township, Byron School District, 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.

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

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.

Commonwealth Edison, which formerly 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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