Wednesday, 07 October 2020 15:07

State values Duke power plant $64M less, Richmond County to loose $600K

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Duke Energy's Smith Energy Complex, south of Hamlet, was recently valued by the state at $64 million less than expected, resulting in a $600,000 revenue loss for Richmond County. Duke Energy's Smith Energy Complex, south of Hamlet, was recently valued by the state at $64 million less than expected, resulting in a $600,000 revenue loss for Richmond County. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County is losing out on a huge chunk of tax revenue following a new valuation of a utility company's property by the state .


County Manager Bryan Land told the Richmond County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that the county received “disturbing news” last month when the annual valuation of the Duke Energy Smith Energy Complex south of Hamlet came in nearly $64 million lower than expected.

“We lost approximately $600,000 in revenue just at the drop of a hat,” Land told commissioners. That's the actual dollar amount the county would have received from Duke for the valuation of $64 million "that disappeared into thin air," according to Land.

Land said the county tax department is not involved in valuing public utilities, but is rather handled by the N.C. Department of Revenue and “the state.”

“Values are tagged to assets throughout the County and our tax office is typically provided a comprehensive list in September,” Land said in a statement to the media on Wednesday.

According to the NCDOR, the total valuation for all public service company property in Richmond County was $311,215,868 for fiscal year 2019-2020. That was down more than half from $779,472,347 the previous year. With last year's valuation, Land said the county's actual revenue was only approximately $3,600.

“It was very disturbing and extremely odd to lose $63,876,333 in public utility value from Duke Energy,” Land said Wednesday..

Since inception of the Smith Energy Complex in 2000, Land said annual values have typically fluctuated  less than ¾ of 1%, with the exception of 2010 when the facility almost doubled in size and $83 million was added in value.

“I hate to sound like a broken record, but just as I stated in my budget letter, there are activities in Raleigh almost daily that can considerably affect our budget” Land said. “The unfunded mandates are just the tip of the iceberg.”

He added that change in valuation “is just another perfect example of a major curve ball being thrown the County’s way.”

“This is a very tough pill to swallow but we will continue as we have always done to tighten up our bootstraps and find ways to adjust, overcome and adapt.”

Land said the county plans to dispute the valuation and is still waiting on a response for the change from NCDOR.