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BOR keeps Byron plant's value the same as last year

The Exelon Byron Station is located on German Church Road between Oregon and Byron. Photo by Earleen Hinton
The Exelon Byron Station is located on German Church Road between Oregon and Byron. Photo by Earleen Hinton

The Ogle County Board of Review stood pat last week on the assessed value of Exelon’s Byron Generating Station.

At a Jan. 30 hearing, BOR members agreed with Supervisor of Assessments Jim Harrison that the plant’s value should remain at $546 million, the same as last year.

In an appeal filed last fall, Exelon Generation officials asked for the assessment to be “not greater than” $308.9 million.

At the hearing, attorneys for the utility presented a new appraisal of the plant setting its value at $158 million.

However, MR Valuations, the appraiser for the Byron School District, set the value at $647.8 million.

Last year Exelon’s appraiser Duff & Phelps submitted an appraisal for $296.9 million.

“I find it difficult to believe the value of this property dropped by half in one year,” Harrison said after the hearing.

Exelon paid $37.6 million in real estate taxes in 2017 to 11 taxing bodies, which include the Byron School District, 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.

More than $21 million of that went to the Byron School District.

The value of the plant has frequently been disputed throughout the history of the facility.

Exelon officials have appealed the BOR decisions each year since 2012 to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.

PTAB held a lengthy hearing on the 2012 appeal almost two years ago but has not yet made a decision.

No hearings have been set for the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 appeals to PTAB.

In another tax appeal, the BOR also stayed with its 2017 decision and set the assessed value of the former Quad Graphics printing plant in Mt. Morris at $895,912 after attorneys could not come to agreement.

The assessed value, which is one-third of the fair market value in this case, translates to a fair market value of $2.68 million for the sprawling plant, which was shuttered in 2011 after providing jobs and tax revenue for the community for 113 years.

Attorneys for the plant’s owner, Mt. Morris Business Park LLC, Downey, California, and the Oregon School District and Village of Mt. Morris, asked for more time at a hearing before the BOR on Jan. 19.

However, they remained unable to reach an agreement.

An appraisal done for Mt. Morris Business Park LLC, which has no connection to the Village of Mt. Morris, set the plant’s fair market value at $400,000 while the attorney for the two taxing bodies argued it should be $3.3 million, the current online asking price for the property.

The owner paid $92,251 in real estate taxes in 2017 to seven taxing bodies, which include the Village of Mt. Morris, Oregon School District, Mt. Morris Township & Road District, Mt. Morris Fire Protection District, Ogle County, Mt. Morris Public Library District, and Highland Community College District.

Quad Graphics sold the printing plant to Mt. Morris Business Park LLC in January of 2015 for $375,000.

Since then the Sussex, Wisconsin, firm has leased a portion of the property as a warehouse.

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