Photo by Diane Cox
Dynegy, located on Illinois 143 in East Alton near the Wood River Creek, announced plans to retire its 465-megawatt Wood River power station in mid-2016.
Local governments are working toward a deal on a tax dispute over the Dynegy coal-burning power plant in East Alton, which appears likely to close June 1.
The agreement, signed off on March 16 by the Madison County Board, would settle a conflict over the property’s assessed value from the tax years 2012 to 2015 between Dynegy and eight local government units: the Alton School District, the village of East Alton, Madison County, Lewis and Clark Community College District, the East Alton Library District, the Wood River Road and Bridge District, Wood River Township and St. Louis Regional Airport.
In exchange for dropping tax appeals, the company agreed on a dual structure of assessments for 2015 to 2018, depending on whether the plant stays open.
After a meeting Tuesday, the grid operator for Ameren Illinois’ service region, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), announced that the plant is not needed for power grid reliability and can shut down by June 1.
The agreement calls for the following equalized assessed values:
2015: $14 million
2016: $8.2 million if closed; $17.4 million if open
2017 and 2018: $1 million if closed; $17.4 million if open.
If Dynegy closes the plant by June 1, it would be considered closed in 2016 under the terms of the agreement. As of deadline, the company had not officially announced its decision.
County Administrator Joseph Parente said the property was assessed at approximately $25 million in 2012, $16.8 million in 2013 and $16.6 million in 2014. In that year, the company paid approximately $770,000 in property taxes to the Alton School District, the taxing body that accounts for the largest part of its bill.
The agreement is subject to court approval.
In other business, the board:
• Authorized a $132,000 loan to the city of Wood River to develop a walking trail at Belk Park and build a restroom at Soccer Park. The loan, from the Park and Recreation Grant Commission with funding provided by a special sales tax, is for a 4-year term at 3 percent interest.
• Approved a $39,923 contract with Ray O’Herren Co. of Danville, Ill., to buy equipment for 12 new Madison County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicles.
• Approved providing $46,628 in matching funds to improve sidewalks in Hartford along Central Avenue from West Seventh Street to West Third Street. The project includes pavement removal and replacement, storm sewer work, concrete gutter removal and replacement, and pavement markings.
• Approved grants of $1,549 for St. Mary’s elementary and middle schools in Alton; $1,997 for Roxana Junior High School; and $450 for Gilson Brown Elementary School in Godfrey. The funds are allocated for recycling, water conservation, air quality initiatives and energy efficiency