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AEP Conesville plant value depreciates substantially

| October 19, 2017

COSHOCTON COUNTY – With the release of the Ohio Department of Taxation annual public utility tax values report for Coshocton County, it was reported that AEP Conesville plant has had a substantial depreciation in value. In 2016, the public utility value of the property was $72,701,140. This year, the value has been set at $34,791,960.

“I knew from Paul Prater at AEP that the company had been attempting to lower their value for tax purposes,” said Christine Sycks, county auditor.

The market value in the plant has gone down substantially due to the plant being coal-fired, and not gas, and no other taxable improvements made to the facility.

The site is currently up for sale. If it sells for more than its value, the finances of the entities in Franklin Township affected by the loss will be readjusted based on the selling amount. If the plant sells at below public utility value, the numbers will plummet even more so.

This drop in value not only affects Franklin Township, but the county as a whole. Last year, the public utility tax value for Coshocton County was $140,898,370. This year, that value has dropped significantly to $101,764,140. That’s more than a $39,000,000 loss in tax value for the county as a whole with $38,000,000 of that value coming from the AEP Conesville plant depreciation.

Sycks said the county typically expects straight line depreciation on properties in the county, but that the AEP Conesville plant was a significant loss.

If in the future the plant shuts down completely, the Ohio Department of Taxation will put a $0 value on the property. However, Sycks said that as long as the company is in production, it should not go down to $0 value.

Organizations affected in Coshocton County include: Franklin Township, River View Local School District, County Board of DD, Coshocton County Career Center, Senior Center, City and County Park District, OSU Extension, Emergency Medical Services and others. Essentially, any county agency or organization with a county wide tax levy will be affected by this dramatic change in the tax valuation of the AEP Conesville plant.

River View Local School District Superintendent Dalton Summers said the school district stands to lose $1,186,582 in revenue.

“We knew last year that this could potentially happen,” he said. “We’ve been waiting to see what would happen. This is going to be a major budget change for us. We are going to have to somehow accommodate this.”

Summers said last spring they spent time lobbying at the state house to help districts that lose this type of funding all at once and allow the state share index to be recalculated immediately.

“In the past the state share of budgets is based on a three year average,” he said. “Those who get more local money get less of a state share. Our state share (of funding) is right around 34 percent right now.”

If the state does increase its funding to River View, Summers said it will be a help, but will not make up the total amount of money lost.

“In order for a district to have its state share adjusted immediately it has to lose 10 percent of its public utility evaluation and 10 percent of its overall evaluation and then the state share will recalculate for that year,” he said. “We are still hopeful we are going to meet the state’s criteria for some relief. River View is being majorly impacted by this change with AEP. It’s going to be bad for everyone, but we have to prepare to operate with $1.2 million less in our budget.”

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