Moffat County Commission agrees to tax settlement with Questar

Commission, Questar meet in middle on $19 million agreement

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In other action...

At a re-scheduled meeting Wednesday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Heard an update from Shannan Koucherik, of Daughters of the American Revolution, about the historic designation for the Lay school building.

• Approved, 3-0, a letter supporting the Bureau of Land Management’s bid for an off highway vehicle grant.

• Approved, 2-1, allocating $5,000 to join a regional grant application opportunity for broadband.

• Appointed, 3-0, Karl Huntsman, Kelly Hepworth, Destry Baker, Wayne Goodnow, Amber Kawcak, Amanda McMillen, Paula Duzik, Annette Norton and Rhonda Counts to the Moffat County Fair Board.

• Appointed, 3-0, Tinneal Gerber and Bryan Ludgate to the Moffat County Finance Corp.

A long dispute about taxes came to a close Tuesday when the Moffat County Commission hosted a special meeting to approve a settlement with Questar Gas.

Questar operates a natural gas pipeline in Moffat County.

For years Questar’s pipelines and equipment had not been valuated in accordance with Colorado’s state assessed guidelines.

To rectify the lost revenue the commission about four years ago hired Visual Lease Services, a Holdenville, Okla.-based re-evaluation projects company, to map and valuate Questar’s pipelines.

Suzanne Brinks, Moffat County assessor at the time, appraised Questar’s infrastructure value to the max.

The commission has settled valuation disputes with Questar in each of the subsequent years since the Visual Lease Services’ mapping project, Commissioner Tom Mathers said Wednesday.

The latest appeal was in reference to the county’s $26 million valuation of Questar’s pipelines and equipment, including two compressors and about 40 meters.

Though Questar paid its tax bill, it appealed the county’s assessed value citing depreciation of its gas meters and saying its two compressors — valued by the county at about $4 million — were leased from another company.

Questar initially countered several months ago with its own $12 million settlement.

The two parties bounced back and forth with counter offers, but when it was confirmed the two compressors were being leased by Questar from another company former Moffat County attorney Jeremy Snow advised the commission to accept the company’s most recent offer.

The commission approved Tuesday, 3-0, settling with Questar for $19 million.

“By agreeing with them at $19 (million) it sets a base value for working with them next year,” Commissioner Tom Gray said, “and sets a good faith requirement to work out some other issues that are still up in the air.”

The county next must refund Questar’s $7 million balance.

State assessed tax revenue benefits the county’s taxing districts, the biggest recipient being the Moffat County School District.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com

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