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Rusk County Appraisal Board reaches deal with Luminant over power plant value

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
Feb. 2, 2012 at 10 p.m.


The Rusk County Appraisal Board has accepted a proposal from Luminant officials on the value of its Martin Lake Power Plant, but the matter won't be finalized until a judge and the energy company sign off on it, Chief Appraiser Terry Decker said Thursday.

The $970 million value that Luminant suggested, and board members agreed to, is less than the $1.056 billion the board assigned to the plant near Tatum this past summer.

The compromise value is significantly higher, however, than the $512 million that Luminant attorneys this past year argued the plant should be valued.

"It's not completely a done deal yet, but we had a meeting with Luminant officials a couple of weeks ago and now the board has accepted that agreement, so we expect everything to move forward smoothly from here on out," Decker said.

The power plant is the most valuable property in Rusk County and its value has a profound effect on almost every taxing entity within the county, he said.

At the center of the dispute was the method used to appraise the value of the plant.

The appraisal firm hired by the board had taken a cost approach to the valuation of the plant, while Luminant officials believed the appraiser should have taken an income approach.

Meranda Cohn, corporate spokeswoman for Luminant, said the company is pleased with the settlement.

"Through our conversations and negotiations, we were able to resolve our value dispute amicably and we look forward to continued cooperation with Rusk County." Cohn said.

Dee Hartt, superintendent of the Tatum Independent School District, said he was relieved that the dispute between the appraisal board and Luminant seems to have been settled.

"This will allow us to finally move on with our budget process and be more certain of the tax impact our bond proposals will have on residents of the district," Hartt said.

The district will vote Feb. 13 on whether to call a bond election for May.

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