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County, PGP battle over tax valuation

By Kay S. Pedrotti After more than two years of debate about just how much Piedmont Green Power is worth for tax purposes, a hearing last Thursday in superior court ended with no monetary decision. The hearing resulted from ‘motions for summary judgement’ to Judge Tommy Wilson. Both sides filed a motion for summary judgment, said county attorney Scott Mayfield. ’The county filed first and set it for the hearing, and PGP replied to my motion and filed their own,’ Mayfield added. According to court records and other sources, Wilson asked the Lamar County assessors and PGP to mediate a settlement by Oct. 1; if there is no agreement, the case will go to a jury trial the week of December 7. Case documents in the superior court clerk’s office show that a principal cause for the disagreement is whether a $49 million federal grant for construction of Piedmont Green Power should be included in assessors’ figures for tax purposes. The parties have been millions of dollars apart in their assertions about the company’s worth. Piedmont Green Power came to Lamar County several years ago and built a plant to burn wood waste to produce electricity, which is sold to Georgia Power Company. Initially, PGP reported the value of its property on Jan. 1, 2013, at $130,081,060; the company then claimed a 25% reduction to allow for more construction, and a 40% Freeport reduction which brought down the value stated by the company to $38,081,060. Neither figure from PGP included the $49 million grant. In 2014 the company claimed its value had dropped to $83,028,105 from the original 2013 figure before reductions, not including the grant amount. The tax assessors told PGP the value should be $134,950,000, which did include the grant. Since there is still pending litigation, neither the company nor the assessors’ office would comment for this story.

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