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Not much growth in property value,taxes of top firms

Coal loadout and gas well symbolize the county's economic base.

Sun Advocate associate editor

The total assessed value of Carbon County's top ten property tax payers edged up slightly in 2012, but still remains under $1 billion.

According to figures provided by the County Treasurer's Office, the assessed value of the top ten was $923 million. In 2011 it was $888 million.

The valuations of the past two years are still well below $1.36 billion of 2008, before the recession and natural gas glut.

Every one of the top ten this year is an energy producer or related to the energy industry.

Bill Barrett Corp. heads the list, with a value of $177.6 million and tax amount of $1.85 million. Conoco Phillips is number two, valued at $168.5 million and tax amount of $1.8 million.

The total tax amount for all ten producers is $10.13 million, just about equal to last year's $10.17 million.

The top ten pay a little less than half of total taxes charged, which is $22 million.

Figures could change somewhat if appeals alter the valuations and the taxes.

Bigger industries such as these are "centrally assessed," meaning that the State Tax Commission rather than the County Assessor determines the values. The formula used by the state is complicated because it considers such factors as depletion, depreciation, corporate capital structure and risk premiums.

It is not like assigning a value to a home.

The big tax payers - and every other property tax payer - support schools, county and municipal services. Schools traditionally get the bulk of property tax payments.

In order of value, the ten largest property values in the county are:

Bill Barrett Corp.;

Conoco Phillips;


Canyon Fuel;

Questar Pipeline;

Anadarko Petroleum;

West Ridge Resources;

Union Pacific;

Sunnyside Cogen;

Kerr McGee.

Their total $923 million value is about half of the county's total taxable valuations of $1.885 billion.

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