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The Press Newspaper

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A case pending before the Ottawa County board of revision has officials in the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District facing the possibility of losing a major revenue source.

FirstEnergy has filed an appeal with the board of revision to have the valuation of property at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station lowered by about $22 million.

Jennifer Young, a spokesperson for FirstEnergy, said the company decided to appeal the valuation after the county completed its property reassessment in 2012.

She said some buildings and structures at the power station outside Oak Harbor should be listed as tax exempt.

“This (appeal) is based on several buildings and structures that are certified as exempt pollution control facilities by the Ohio Tax Commissioner still listed on the tax roll,” she said.

In addition, the valuations on administrative buildings at the station are higher than values placed on office buildings in downtown Cleveland and Columbus, she said.

“Our hope is to work with the auditor, school board and board of revision to determine a resolution to this matter in a timely, fair fashion,” Young said.

Tim Coffman, B-C-S treasurer, said a reduction of $22 million in valuation would translate into a revenue loss of about $210,000 a year for the district.  It would take an increase of about 1.1 mills in property taxes to recoup that loss.

The school board filed a counter complaint in May with the board of revision, he said. A hearing date hasn’t been set.

As of May 31, revenues in the B-C-S  district were running about 2.8 percent higher than budgeted and expenses were about 1.2 percent lower, Coffman writes in the district’s newsletter.

Real estate taxes account for about half of the district’s total revenue.

Receiving property tax revenue from Davis-Besse presents other challenges to the B-C-S board and administration.

While the plant re-fuels, its value increases. But it drops when the fuel is spent.

“This occurs on a three-year cycle and causes an approximate $300,000 change in (tax) collections during this time,” Coffman said.

A 3.9-mill levy to fund district operations expires at the end of this year. It generates about $1.2 million annually.

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