TOWN OF CARLTON – People in Kewaunee County won’t have to worry about their tax bills changing much. That’s because an agreement has been reached on the value of the shutdown Kewaunee Nuclear Plant.
However, Carlton town officials say the state is acting illegally, allowing the deal to happen.
“I think it’s kind of a dirty deal for all the people of Kewaunee County,” said Mark Schmeling, a member of the Town of Carlton Board of Review.
Under state law, the plant did not have to pay property taxes when it was operational. Now that it is shutdown, the plant’s value affects how much taxpayers pay.
A town-hired assessor valued the plant at $502 million. Dominion, the owners of the plant, said it was worth $1.5 million. Last night, the two sides signed an agreement, putting the value at $10 million.
“A lot of negotiating, a lot of soul searching and in the end, it’s really the best the town of Dominion could really hope for,” said Mark Kanz, a Dominion spokesperson.
“They never gave us anything, but one thing they gave us was a nice big sore thumb for the rest of my grandkids’ and great grandkids’ life,” said Stanley Lacrosse, a member of the Town of Carlton Board of Review.
Town of Carlton officials say they had to agree to the deal, because they don’t have the money to battle Dominion in court, which possibly could have went on for years.
What town officials say they don’t understand is how the deal is possible when equalized values for the state were due August 15th. A Department of Revenue official originally said the $502 million assessment would go on the tax roll, because an agreement wasn’t reached before the 15th.
“We haven’t gotten the final answer from the Department of Revenue on this,” said Steve Tadisch, Town of Carlton Supervisor.
“We were able to successfully negotiate last week and have talked to the Department of Revenue and they will be able to make the appropriate adjustments so it won’t have a huge impact on the taxpayers here in Kewaunee County moving forward,” said Kanz.
Had the $502 million value went on the tax roll, Kewaunee County tax bills would have went down this year, possibly by hundreds of dollars. However, in a few years, bills could have went up much more if a judge eventually sided with Dominion. Now taxes are expected to stay about the same.
FOX 11 tried calling the Department of Revenue to see why the deal is possible despite being made after the state’s August 15th deadline. Our call hasn’t been returned.