Commissioners approve Henderson revaluation | SkyHiNews.com

Commissioners approve Henderson revaluation

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

The Grand County Board of Commissioners has voted to change the tax valuation of the Henderson Mine and Mill from a five-year average to a three-year average, after mine owner Freeport-McMoRan Company requested the county change its valuation.

Tax valuations of the Henderson Mine and Mill are based on production.

Freeport-McMoRan had originally sought a yearly valuation of its production from Grand County.

Commissioners Jane Tollett and Merrit Linke voted in favor of the revaluation, while Commissioner Kris Manguso voted against it.

Tollett said that Henderson had been a "major partner in the community," giving hundreds of millions of dollars back to Grand County.

"This is a big business that asked for help in a time of need," Tollett said. "We didn't go down to one year. We met in the middle, and we thought that was fair."

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A fall in the price of molybdenum has pushed Freeport-McMoRan to curtail production at Henderson by has much as 60 percent.

Henderson started a round of 130 layoffs on Jan. 12.

Linke declined to comment on his decision to support the revaluation, citing confidential information on the mine and mill's production that was used to reach the decision.

Manguso said she voted against the revaluation because "it was the right thing for the people of Grand County.

"I think the effect on the county tax dollars and the special districts is going to be large, and I guess I just didn't see where it would make a big difference to Henderson really, as much."

The Clear Creek County Board of Commissioners denied a similar request from Freeport-McMoRan to reduce its valuation from a ten-year average to a yearly assessment.

"Henderson is a huge company, and Clear Creek said no, and they pay a heck of a lot more money to Clear Creek than us, so I didn't see there was huge benefit to Henderson, and I thought there would be a larger negative impact to Grand County," Manguso said.

It's unclear how large of an impact the revaluation will have on the county's tax revenue, but Tollett said the county was crunching the numbers.

"We're in the middle of evaluating financially exactly what this means to the entire community, the districts and the county," Tollett said.

The mill pays around $4.5 million in taxes to government and special districts in Grand County every year, said County Assessor Tom Weydert.

"We literally do not have all the numbers yet," Weydert said of the mine revaluation.

The county will have a clearer picture of the revaluation's impact closer to May 1, when it sends out its notices of value, Weydert said.

A spokesman with Freeport McMoRan had not returned a request for comment as of press time.

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-557-6010.

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