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Power plant financing to affect school revenue

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — The Marshall County Board of Education may forgo about $181 million worth of potential property tax revenue to attract a natural gas power plant, but Superintendent Michael Hince said this fact tells only a small portion of the economic impact story.

As Buffalo, N.Y.-based private developer Moundsville Power LLC hopes to raise $615 million to build a 549-megawatt plant on a 37.5-acre piece of property along the Ohio River, both the Marshall County Board of Education and the Marshall County Commission recently adopted Payment in Lieu of Tax agreements so the firm can avoid regular property taxes.

“We cannot simply look at dollar amounts. Without the board of education’s agreement, there may likely not be this opportunity to have this plant,” Hince said.

Calculations by county Assessor Christopher Kessler show the school system would normally collect about $185.4 million worth of property tax from the power plant over 30 years. This is based on a $615 million appraised value, which would be taxed at the assessed value of $369 million. Kessler said the $369 million value would result in $6.18 million worth of property taxes for the district per year. Multiplied by 30 years, the $6.18 million amounts to $185.4 million.

The board of education voted to forgo these taxes in favor of the PILOT plan, which will only result in a $4.2 million payment from the firm to the school over 30 years.

Hince, however, said the board is now receiving virtually nothing from the land, which is classified as a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency…

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