Another of the research efforts by a Friend of McHenry County Blogstimulated by the proposal to build a gas-fired power plant in Oakwood Hills:
Property Tax and Power Plants
Ill-researched proclamations that a power plant will bring tax money to a community require closer scrutiny of details.
A power plant may pay property taxes, but the net property tax impact may be negative; a lowered net value of overall assessment (due to home values dropping as a function of insertion of the disamenity) may result in tax revenue loss which exceeds the property taxes paid by disamenity, and this may result in a higher tax burden for other taxpayers in the community affected.
Or, the power plant may pay property taxes for a while at an agreed assessment, and then sue [or appeal] for reduced assessment when the time comes to abandon or wind down their blighted property.
Or the disamenity may claim assessments were too high to begin with and sue for reimbursements from community which has suffered their presence for years.
[Or Original cost estimates may include what is defined as “personal property,” which is no longer taxed in Illinois.]
Due diligence by zoning board officials should include independent objective research on these topics:
1. How much tax revenue will be lost by the devaluation of assessed values of current homeowners in the vicinity of the disamenity newly granted zoning variance? (This issue can be addressed by examining scholarly studies of statistics derived from communities which have had (major source polluter) disamenity zoning variances granted.)
2. What realistic tax revenue can be expected from disamenity, without fear of future clawback lawsuits? (See news articles cited below for recent relevant instances.)
3. If the property seeking zoning variance were left to its original zoning, what amount of property taxes could be expected versus comparisons to disamenity petitioner for zoning variance? (That is, would a light-industrial- zoning-compliant use of property end up paying more, less, or equivalent property taxes to risk-normalized projections for the disamenity seeking zoning variance?)
News articles below should be studied by Oakwood Hills officials:
Two Power Plants Win a Lawsuit, and Property Taxes Rise Drastically in Several Towns
By ABBY GRUEN
Published: January 23, 2007
Assessed value of Bow power plant drops nearly $50 million; tax rates to spike
By MEGAN DOYLE
Monday, November 11, 2013
(Published in print: Tuesday, November 12, 2013)
Power Plant Closures Generate Taxing Troubles
by Spencer Rumsey on March 3, 2014
EVALUATING POWER PLANT PROPERTY TAX BURDENS IN A
Power plant asks for tax cap
By James Walsh
Published: 2:00 AM – 08/07/14
Last updated: 12:30 AM – 08/08/14