A Northwest Missouri wind farm is disputing taxes owed in DeKalb County.
St. Louis-based Wind Capital Group says the higher tax rate goes against a 2009 agreement between the company and the county.
DeKalb County says it doesn’t see it that way.
Dozens of giant wind turbines spin along the countryside in DeKalb County.
The windmills are part of Wind Capital Group’s Lost Creek Project.
They generate green energy and money for the county’s schools, seniors, and emergency services.
But the taxes the county receives from the wind farm are in question.
“They’re appealing the assessed value saying that we have grossly overvalued them,” says Ruth Ross, DeKalb County Assessor.
Ross says she assessed the values for 99 windmills in the county.
She used the same process the surrounding counties use for Wind Capital Group.
She determined true market value was $930,100 per tower.
That’s 40% of the total construction cost after a 60% abatement.
“They gave us a construction cost; a total construction cost. That formula then; the methodology that was developed by the Gentry County Assessor and the former CEO of Wind Capital; the formula was attached to that,” Ross says.
Wind Capital Group says in 2007, prior to construction, they told DeKalb County Commissioners the project would be too expensive to build in DeKalb County using the surrounding county’s formulas.
They said the project wouldn’t be competitive with wind energy projects in neighboring states.
Wind capital group tells KQ2:
“The Lost Creek Project exists in DeKalb County today only because the county commissioners entered into an agreement in April 2009 with the project to a set amount of property taxes, an amount Wind Capital Group stands ready to pay to Dekalb County. Unfortunately, the assessor is effectively changing the rules after the game has started by waiting until the project was constructed and then seeking to increase the amount that had already been agreed upon by the county commissioners and Wind Capital Group.”
The company wants lower assessed values, which would equal lower tax rates.
The county says the tax affects multiple entities in the area.
“It’s part of our tax base. The money that they would pay would be new money coming in because it’s new construction. Of course, during these times we’re seeing reduced state aid, we’ve seen reduced county aid, and federal aid across the board. Any new money we get in helps our district,” says Bruce Skoglund, Superintendent of King City R-1 School District.
In the meantime, since Wind Capital Group made the appeal in September, taxes they pay will go into an escrow account.
“The tax revenue will not be used. I mean if it would go more than a year, then they would pay timely the next year, and it would be held in an escrow account up until the time the decision is made,” Ross says.
The process for reassessment, now in the Missouri State Tax Commission’s hands, could last from six months to over a year.
Wind capital also told KQ2 they believe in paying their fair share of property taxes.
The company says they agreed to pay more in property taxes on the Lost Creek Project than have ever been paid on a wind energy project in Missouri.
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