Marshall County assessed property values double in six years - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Marshall County assessed property values double in six years

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Due primarily to activity in the oil and gas and coal industries, the assessed value of property in Marshall County has increased by almost 50 percent in two years and doubled since 2007.

Marshall County Assessor Chris Kessler will provide the county commission with preliminary assessed value totals for each class of property in Marshall County for the 2013 tax year. That meeting will take place Jan. 29 when the commission sits at its initial meeting as the Board of Review and Equalization, Kessler said Jan. 24 in a news release.

The assessed values of real and personal property in the county have increased by $577.2 million, excluding the public utility values, most of which Kessler said can be attributed to growth in the natural gas industry as well as to activities of the coal, chemical and power industries in the county.

Total taxable assessed value of all property in Marshall County is anticipated to be approximately $2.7 billion, a $913 million increase over the last two years.

With tax-exempt property added, Kessler said, Marshall County will have a total assessed value of slightly less than $3 billion — double the value in 2007.

"This type of increase can only be described as extraordinary and is the result of new investment in the county," Kessler said.

The greatest impacts on increased assessed values and potential property tax revenues in 2013 are related to several specific activities, Kessler said.

One is the natural gas processing and fractionation facilities such as those built by Williams Partners — formerly Caiman Energy — MarkWest Liberty Midstream and Dominion Resources. These facilities separate the wet gas products ethane, propane, butane and pentanes from methane.

New wells under construction as of the July 1 assessment date each year also result in increased personal property tax revenues because the drilling rigs and equipment are assessed to the contractors doing the work.

In addition, the pipeline network that transports gas from the well to processing facilities continues to grow and is being assessed.

Finally, royalty payments to individuals are now more common, along with the income being realized by the producers such as Chesapeake Energy, Chevron, Trans Energy, CNX, Gastar and others are increasing with production.

With regard to coal, investments made by Consol Energy at its mines and coal preparation plants also contributed to the increase in assessed values in the county, Kessler said.

"If there is a war on coal, the strength of Marshall County's coal industry and Consol's willingness to invest in its operations in the county seem to speak otherwise," he said. "I can't speak to possible impending regulatory constraints, but hopefully, Consol's markets and overall industry economics remain strong moving forward."

Growth in assessed values in the gas industry is expected to continue as new pipelines are put in place, gas processing and fractionation plants expand, and construction of the Dominion fractionation plant at Natrium is completed.