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Public utility property values in West Virginia increase despite decline in coalfield counties


CHARLESTON, West Virginia — West Virginia's natural gas counties on the Marcellus Shale are the winners and coalfield counties are the losers in the state's latest assessment of the value of properties owned by public utilities.

A report presented to the Board of Public Works on Tuesday shows utility property values increased by 36 percent in Doddridge County in the past year, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail ( Ritchie and Tyler counties each saw a 16 percent increase, while property values in Taylor County rose by 9 percent.

In the southern coalfields, utility property values fell by 10 percent in Boone County, 8 percent in McDowell County and 7 percent in both Logan and Wyoming counties.

Statewide, the assessed value of utility properties rose by $530 million to more than $10 billion.

The value of pipelines for transportation of natural gas jumped more than 10 percent, to $1.88 billion, while the value of property owned by electric power companies increased 6.5 percent to $5.01 billion, despite the ongoing shuttering of coal-fired power plants, said State Department of Revenue's Property Tax Division spokesman Jeff Amburgey.

Overall, that will mean about a $12 million increase in property tax collections statewide in 2016, he said.

Asked by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin if the gains in the Marcellus Shale counties will offset the losses in the coalfield counties, Amburgey said he won't be able to say for sure until the final assessments of oil and natural gas assets are completed on Dec. 1.

The Board of Public Works will vote on final approval of the tax year 2016 assessments on Dec. 10.

Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail,

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