Clatsop County is hosting a meeting of local taxing districts to explain issues surrounding the Wauna Mill tax appeal case and its impact on property tax revenue.
The meeting takes place at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Judge Guy Boyington Building, 857 Commercial St., Astoria. The county invites representatives from taxing districts (e.g. cities, schools, roads, fire, water) and special assessment districts (e.g. diking, drainage, water control) to attend.
In 2008 Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP, Wauna Mill's operator, was required to pay $4,147,701 to Clatsop County after the company was found to be out of compliance with the terms of an enterprise zone program that exempted the company from paying property taxes on a new paper machine.
Georgia-Pacific appealed the enterprise zone ruling, as well as the tax appraisals on the paper machine and other mill assets and the assessment methods, to the Oregon Tax Court. As a result of that appeal, Clatsop County placed the $4.1 million payment in a special reserve account as a precaution in the event that Georgia-Pacific won the appeal and the county was required to repay the money. The case remains with the tax court and could take several years to resolve.
Under state tax law, the county was required to spread the impact of the set-aside to all taxing districts throughout the county, resulting in a drop in revenue to local governments and service districts for the 2008-09 fiscal year.
Thursday's meeting will include presentations from Clatsop County Assessment and Taxation Director Betsy Moes and County Counsel Heather Reynolds on tax disbursement formulas and the Georgia-Pacific appeal timeline. They and other county officials, as well as representatives of the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Oregon Department of Justice, will then be available to answer questions from meeting participants.