CLEARFIELD – While Bionol Clearfield, LLC moves onto the tax rolls in January, the Clearfield Area School District Board of Directors discussed the proposed appraisal agreement at its committee meetings on Monday night.
Business Administrator Sam Maney said he recently attended a meeting with all three Clearfield County Commissioners and Borough Operations Manager Leslie Stott. He said the commissioners wanted assistance with the cost to be incurred due to the appraisal.
Maney also expressed that there were some concerns over the ability of the county’s assessment office to provide a satisfactory appraisal of the ethanol plant. He said the assessment office doesn’t have the experience with this type of facility.
For that reason, he said the commissioners have proposed the hiring of the Industrial Appraisal Company, a Pittsburgh-based firm for valuation services, to conduct the assessment. However, he said it would result in a greater expense for the county.
According to Maney, the commissioners would like each tax entity to proportionately share the expense of the appraisal based on their respective millage rates. He said the school district would be responsible for approximately 65 percent, or in the area of $4,800, of the cost for the appraisal.
Maney recommended that they agree to the appraisal agreement in order to provide a “reliable base” of the property’s value for future reference.
Board member Mary Anne Jackson advised the district not to expect “big numbers,” when the final assessment comes in. She said that any machine equipment would not be considered as real estate for appraisal.
“I’m not arguing against the assessment; I just wanted them to be aware,” she said. “If you look at the site, that’s what it is with the exception of a few big, garage-like warehouses.”
Maney explained that most concerns surrounded potential repercussions if the ethanol plant was assessed too high or too low. He said if a more experienced firm was hired, it could prevent any costly appeals later.
“I think it’d be wise to do it,” board President Dave Glass said. “In the end, we may have to pay anyway. I don’t think we want to hold this up.”