Nexus, Rover seek lower valuations of pipelines

Larry Limpf

Officials in Wood and Sandusky counties have been notified that the operators of natural gas pipelines have appealed to the Ohio Department of Taxation for lower valuations of the lines.
Wood County auditor Matthew Oestreich said the Rover and Nexus pipelines have filed appeals to reduce the valuations to 54 percent and 62 percent respectively of their original valuation assessments set by the tax department.
In Sandusky County, auditor Jerri Miller said Nexus is asking for a reduction to 62 percent of the preliminary assessment.
For the counties, townships and school districts and local governments along the paths of the pipelines, the appeal process itself could cause a temporary loss of tax revenues as the pipeline companies will only be required to pay taxes on the requested lower valuations until the appeal is decided – which could take more than a year, Oestreich said.
If either company loses its appeal, it will be billed the difference plus interest for the time they paid taxes on the appeal value.
“I hope the department of taxation adheres close to the original value their formula calculated on these pipelines. I would like to see the department of taxation protecting the local tax base and not siding with an out-of-state company poised to make billions,” Oestreich said.
In October, the state tax department informed the Sandusky County auditor that the preliminary tax assessment for the section of the Nexus pipeline in the county was $257.1 million. A 38 percent reduction would lower that valuation by about $99 million to $158.2 million.
The affected taxing districts in the county and the preliminary assessed valuation of the pipeline in their jurisdictions are: Rice Twp. /Fremont schools - $3.1 million; Riley Twp. /Fremont schools - $31.5 million; Riley Twp. /Clyde schools - $2 million; Sandusky Twp. /Fremont schools - $32 million; Townsend Twp. / Margaretta schools - $106 million; Washington Twp. / Fremont schools - $16 million; Washington Twp. /Gibsonburg schools - $17.4 million and Woodville Twp./Woodmore schools - $48 million.
Those jurisdictions are to start receiving public utility property tax revenues from the pipeline in February 2020.
Dan Russomanno, Woodmore treasurer, said recently he expected the $48 million valuation of the pipeline in the Woodmore district to be challenged and he’s been conservative in his financial projections about potential revenues.

Wood County
The combined preliminary valuation of the Rover and Nexus lines in Wood County had been about $350 million. If their appeals are granted, the combined valuation would be about $209 million.
Even with the lower valuations, the pipelines will still be the biggest payers of property taxes in the county, Oestreich said.
The Rover line crosses through Bloom, Henry, Jackson, Milton and Perry townships and began operating in 2018.
The Nexus line crosses through Troy, Webster and Middleton townships and went into service in 2019.
If Nexus wins its appeal, the valuation of the line in the Eastwood School District would be $39.8 million which would generate about $1.3 million annually for the district.
Oestreich said county agencies, townships and county library systems also share in the taxes.


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