Goliad County bracing for possible lawsuit
by Coy Slavik
Jul 18, 2012 | 1257 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GOLIAD — The Goliad County Appraisal District is awaiting word from Coleto Creek Power to see if the company plans to pursue litigation against the county in relation to the appraised value of the plant.

On June 20, the Appraisal Review Board heard arguments from representatives of the Appraisal District and Coleto Creek Power and determined the 2012 taxable value of the plant to be $328.6 million.

The two sides went before the Appraisal Review Board after Coleto Creek Power protested the Appraisal District’s determination that the plant’s 2012 taxable value was $355.3 million.

According to Goliad County Tax Appraiser Pat Brennan, Coleto Creek Power’s tax consultant group, Duff and Phelps, contended the plant’s 2012 tax value was approximately $200 million.

“Obviously, with that much difference in the opinion of value, the Appraisal District was not in a position to surrender millions of dollars in value during informal protest discussions,” Brennan told the Goliad County Commissioners Court during the July 9 meeting.

Immediately after the ARB’s decision, Coleto Creek Power was given 60 days to file a petition for review with the District Court.

Brennan presented to the court the taxable values of Coleto Creek Power from the last five years. In 2011, the taxable value of the plant was $362,337, 800.

“It is not clear at this point if Coleto Creek Power Station is satisfied with the outcome of their protest with the ARB,” Brennan said. “They can choose to either accept the reduction ($26.7 million) in plant value as determined by the ARB, thereby resolving the matter; or they may elect to litigate the value issue in District Court in an effort to seek further relief from property taxation.”

Robert Stevens, plant manager of Coleto Creek Power, declined comment, deferring to the power plant’s communications department, which was unavailable for comment by Monday’s press deadline.

Brennan said the dispute between the county and Coleto Creek Power, which is by far the county’s largest taxing entity, was not a controversial issue. He said he respected Coleto Creek Power’s right to contest the county’s appraisal, but hoped to avoid a lengthy and costly court battle.

“If the Appraisal District is sued in District Court, the district would have to hire an attorney and respond to the lawsuit,” Brennan said. “Funding for an attorney to represent the Appraisal District would be paid for by the taxing entities within our county.

“Coleto Creek Power has been a good neighbor and a tremendous asset to Goliad County. They have made significant contributions to our community and have generously funded many worthwhile charitable projects.”

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