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Board stands behind assessments of Byron nuke station, former printing plant

OREGON – The Ogle County Board of Review is standing pat on the $546 million assessed value of Exelon’s Byron Generating Station – the same assessment as last year.

In an appeal filed in the fall, Exelon Generation officials asked that the assessment not be greater than $308.9 million.

At a board hearing Jan. 30, attorneys for the utility presented a new appraisal of the plant setting its value at $158 million.

MR Valuations, the appraiser for the Byron School District, set the value at $647.8 million.

Last year, Exelon’s appraiser, Duff & Phelps, submitted an appraisal for $296.9 million.

“I find it difficult to believe the value of this property dropped by half in one year,” Supervisor of Assessments Jim Harrison said after the hearing.

Exelon paid $37.6 million in real estate taxes in 2017 to 11 taxing bodies: the Byron School District, Ogle County, Rockvale Township, Oregon School District, Oregon Park District, Byron Fire District, Rock Valley College, Byron Public Library District, Byron Museum District, Byron Forest Preserve District, and Kishwaukee Community College.

More than $21 million of that went to the Byron School District.

The value of the plant has frequently been disputed throughout the history of the facility.

Exelon officials have appealed the board of review decisions each year since 2012 to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.

The appeal board held a lengthy hearing on the 2012 appeal almost 2 years ago but has not yet made a decision.

No hearings have been set for the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 appeals.

The board also is standing behind the 2017 decision to set the assessed value of the former Quad Graphics printing plant in Mount Morris at $895,912 after attorneys could not come to agreement.

The assessed value, which is one-third of the fair market value in this case, translates to a fair market value of $2.68 million for the sprawling plant, which was shuttered in 2011 after providing jobs and tax revenue for the community for 113 years.

Attorneys for the plant’s owner, Mt. Morris Business Park LLC, of Downey, California, the Oregon School District and the village of Mount Morris asked for more time at a Jan. 19 hearing, but remained unable to reach an agreement.

An appraisal done for Mt. Morris Business Park LLC, which has no connection to the village, set the plant’s fair market value at $400,000 while the attorney for the two taxing bodies argued it should be $3.3 million, the current online asking price for the property.

The owner paid $92,251 in real estate taxes in 2017 to seven taxing bodies: the village of Mount Morris, Oregon School District, Mount Morris Township & Road District, Mount Morris Fire Protection District, Ogle County, Mt. Morris Public Library District, and Highland Community College District.

Quad Graphics sold the printing plant to Mt. Morris Business Park LLC in January 2015 for $375,000.

Since then the Sussex, Wisconsin, firm has leased a portion of the property as a warehouse.

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