$42.2 million assessment tallied for new Salem Township generating station

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - [email protected]
Luzerne County Courthouse - File photo

With the help of an outside expert, Luzerne County has valued the new Caithness Moxie Freedom Generating Station in Salem Township at $42.2 million, which makes it one of the top commercial assessments in the county.

After receiving official notice of the value, the property owner will have 40 days to challenge the assessment.

If the assessment remains unchanged, real estate taxes will be a total $752,237 based on current tax rates — county, $252,164; township, $42,200; and Berwick Area School District, $457,873.

The county retained Media, Pennsylvania-based Coyle, Lynch & Company for $50,000 to produce a recommended value. The company provided the lowest price among two responding to a public request for proposals.

Salem Township agreed to reimburse the county $2,805 toward the outside appraisal expense.

Expertise was warranted, county officials said, because the natural gas-fired power generating station is complex and not a typical commercial or industrial site.

Located along Mingle Inn Road, the Caithness property includes 10 parcels totaling 176.74 acres, assessment records show.

New York state-based Caithness Energy produces power for Moxie Energy LLC, of Virginia. The two companies will operate the plant.

A Caithness Moxie Freedom representative has said the company would work with the county assessor’s office and its consultant to fulfill the statutory requirement to correctly assess the property.

The county has authority to assess a new business retroactively to the first day of the month after it opens, according to the assessor’s office. The new assessment is scheduled to take effect Nov. 1.

The site’s generating station was transitioning to commercial operation in September, with two gas turbine units operating and producing approximately 1,000 megawatts of “clean and efficient electric power,” which was enough to supply approximately 900,000 homes locally and throughout the region, a representative has said.

According to county records, Cole, Lynch & Company personally inspected the entire complex and reviewed numerous records.

In addition to furnishing a written opinion of the fair market value, the outside appraiser must be willing to appear and testify about that value before the county assessment appeals board or in court if the value is contested.

The highest assessed property in the county is still the nuclear power plant in Salem Township owned by Susquehanna Nuclear LLC. Its assessment is $248 million.

The other top assessments, based on a variety of records:

• Mohegan Sun Pocono casino complex in Plains Township, $151.7 million

• Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre Township, $76.1 million

• Arena Hub Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township,$55.74 million

• American Eagle Outfitters distribution center in Hazle Township, $46.1 million

• TJ Maxx distribution center in Pittston Township, $42.3 million

Luzerne County Courthouse
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/web1_luzcocourthouse01.jpgLuzerne County Courthouse File photo

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

[email protected]

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.