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Panel denies nuclear tax appeals in Byron

OREGON – The Ogle County Board of Review chose the middle ground last week when it set the assessment of Exelon’s nuclear plant.

After hearing appeals from attorneys for both Exelon Nuclear and the Byron School District last week, the board upheld the assessment of $509.4 million set last fall by Jim Harrison, the supervisor of assessments.

Exelon Nuclear officials appealed that assessment, claiming the plant’s value should be set at $252.9 million, just 49.6 percent of Harrison’s number.

Byron school officials, on the other hand, set the plant’s value at $730 million in their appeal.

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

The assessment is slightly higher than the $499 million set by Harrison in 2012.

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

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

Both Exelon and Byron school officials also appealed last year’s assessment, and the board of review upheld Harrison’s number at a hearing held a year ago.

Both appealed last year’s board decision to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board, which has not yet made its ruling.

Exelon paid more than $32 million in real estate taxes last 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 Byron School District received the largest share of that money – $18.4 million.

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

A 4-year agreement between the taxing bodies and Exelon for the plant’s assessment expired at the end of 2011.

The agreement, approved in November 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.

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