Solvay appeals assessment

Solvay Chemicals is appealing an assessed valuation in regards to property taxes.

During the Sweetwater County Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning, the Commissioners heard an update from County Assessor Dave Divis and Sweetwater County Treasurer Robb Slaughter about the appeal process.

Commissioner Chairman Reid West said the matter doesn’t require any action from the Commissioners, but thought it would be a good idea for them to hear an update on it.

Divis said the Department of Audit conducted an audit on Solvay’s returns and found an issue. Previously, the Department of Revenue had issued a notice of valuation change that increased the assessed valuation on Solvay’s production taxes for tax years 2013-2016.

“What’s happening now, is Solvay is actually appealing that decision from the state of Wyoming,” Divis said. “So what will happen, in this situation, they are going to Escrow the funds from the treasurer’s office to stop any additional interest.”

Depending on how the appeal goes, the money in the fund will either be collected and receipted or be refunded back to Solvay, Divis said.

Divis said this was a mineral value the state assessed, not something local.

“This does happen occasionally,” Divis said.

West said when reviewing the information, it was hard for him to understand what’s going on and if it had anything to do with the waste gas.

“Several years ago, they started recovering waste gas and I think using it as part of their operations and burning it off as well,” West said.

“And that is exactly what this issue is about,” Divis said. “There’s a discrepancy whether there should be a severance tax on that.”

Divis said it will be up to the State Board of Equalization to decide whether there should or should not be a tax on it.

Slaughter said this is the second time this has happened. He said in 2016, Solvay was given a notice of evaluation on tax years 2011-2013. When those valuation changes come in the assessor’s office, the office has a number it applies to those accounts and those are converted to tax numbers. Slaughter said his office made a technical error on this after the Legislature changed the law on how delinquent interest is calculated on these audits.

Slaughter said he encouraged Solvay to Escrow those funds while the appeal is pending to stop the accruing of interest.

On Solvay’s 2016 notice of valuation it was assessed at about $71,000 and for the 2018 valuation it was $430,000, Slaughter said.

“Interesting case,” West said.

The Commissioners agreed and wanted updates on how the case proceeds.


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