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Taxes and business

A Bill Barrett contracted rig near East Carbon last year. Barrett was the second largest property tax payer in the county last year. Energy companies make up nine of the top ten taxpayers in Carbon County.

Sun Advocate Reporter

ECDC Environmental, operator of the giant landfill in East Carbon City, became the ninth largest property taxpayer in Carbon County with 2009 assessments. With an assessed value of $20.8 million and taxes of $319,211, ECDC is the only non-energy company on the top-ten list.

That addition coplimented the other nine as things shifted around a bit last year when it comes to those that pay taxes in the county.

Still at the head of the list is oil and coal-bed methane producer ConocoPhillips, which was taxed about $4,131,000 on its assessed value of $435,676,688.

While the valuations of the biggest property taxpayers are still impressive, most have come down since the 2008 assessment. ConocoPhillips, for example, was assessed at $544,738,446 in 2008, which means the its taxable value fell more than $100 million in one year. Anadarko Petroleum, dropped from $198,574,593 in 2008 to $134,207,967, down more than $60 million.

County Commissioner Mike Milovich explained that the numbers don't represent a collapse in the energy sector, however. Valuation goes down for two main reasons: depreciation of equipment and depletion of the resources. The state handles the assessment of these big industries, and takes these two factors into account, the commissioner said Tuesday.

So if the companies aren't adding equipment or getting new leases on coal, oil, or gas, the property values will drop.

Two companies increased their valuations between 2008 and 2009. PacifiCorp, which owns the Carbon Power Plant and transmission and distribution lines in the the county, went from $88,609,438 to $102,094,215. Coal producer Westridge Resources continued its expansion and went from $33,814,158 to $91,991,432.

Revenue from property taxes funds county schools and basic government services.

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