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Exelon appeals assessment of Byron plant

The tax assessment for Exelon’s Byron Generating Station will be on the Ogle County Board of Review's docket – again. An appeal for the plant will be heard by the board on Jan. 17. The county assessed the station at  $546 million but Exelon says the value should be $158 million. Photo by Earleen Hinton
The tax assessment for Exelon’s Byron Generating Station will be on the Ogle County Board of Review's docket – again. An appeal for the plant will be heard by the board on Jan. 17. The county assessed the station at $546 million but Exelon says the value should be $158 million. Photo by Earleen Hinton

In what could be called an annual tradition, Exelon Generation LLC has filed an appeal of the assessment of the Byron Generating Station.

Ogle County Supervisor of Assessments said last week that the utility has appealed its 2018 assessment of $546 million, asking that it be reduced to $158 million.

The BOR will hear the appeal on Jan. 17.

The plant’s assessment has been appealed every year for almost 30 years.

The plant’s value, set last fall by Harrison, is identical to the amount set for the previous two years, both of which have been upheld by the BOR.

Exelon officials have appealed those decisions to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.

Attorneys for the utility company have argued that the plant’s assessment should decrease due to economic conditions and the plant’s age.

The two reactors came online in 1985 and 1987 and were licensed for 40 years. Both were granted 20-year license extensions in 2015.

The most recent round of annual appeals, which began in 2012, are not yet resolved at the state level.

PTAB heard the 2012 appeal in 2015, but has not yet rendered its decision, Harrison said. 

This year Exelon paid $37.8 million in real estate taxes 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.

Both Exelon and the Byron School District appealed the plant’s assessments to the BOR from 2012 through 2017, and then appealed the BOR decisions to Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.

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. A PTAB decision then was the basis for the assessment.

While most assessments are set at one-third of fair market value, the 1998 agreement dictates that only 48.15 percent of the nuclear plant’s fair market value will be used in determining its assessed value.

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