ROXANA — The Roxana School Board has approved a settlement agreement with WRB Refining LP regarding the assessment and taxation of the Wood River Refinery.
The agreement drops all litigation between WRB, the school district and a number of other taxing bodies, according to a press release on the district’s website.
Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the Madison County State’s Attorney’s tax settlement ordering the district to pay back $8.6 million in property taxes collected during the 2011 tax year will be vacated and the case dismissed. A lawsuit filed by WRB to block the school district’s sale of working cash fund bonds also will be dismissed, clearing the way for the district to proceed with the bond issue.
In tax year 2010, prior to the completion of WRB’s CORE Project (Coker and Refinery Expansion Project), the Roxana School District’s share of the Wood River Refinery’s assessment was $80.7 million and WRB paid the district about $3.5 million in property taxes at a tax rate of 4.3754 percent.
Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the Wood River Refinery’s assessment is confirmed for tax years 2011, 2012 and 2013, and the Roxana School District’s share of the assessment will be set at $320.3 million for tax years 2014 through 2017. During the period from tax year 2014 through 2017, WRB’s tax payments to the district will average about $12 million. During the same period, the Roxana School District’s tax rate will average 3.9622 percent, the lowest tax rate for any Madison County school district serving children in grades kindergarten through 12.
With the increased property tax revenues from WRB’s Wood River Refinery in tax years 2011 through 2013, the Roxana School District has been able to:
- Reduce its tax rate for taxpayers from 4.3754 percent to less than 4 percent
- Eliminate deficit spending and shore up fund balances
- Reduce dependence on unreliable general state aid
- Air condition the high school and junior high school buildings, improving air quality for students and staff
- Initiate 1-to-1 technology for students in grades 6 through 12 and provide laptop carts at both elementary schools
Going forward in tax years 2014 through 2017, the district says it will be able to:
- Build additional classrooms at Central and South elementary schools that will eliminate portable classrooms
- Provide a pre-k center at South Elementary School
- Continue to provide a solid financial foundation for the district and its students
Before the settlement becomes final, the agreement with WRB needs to be approved by all taxing bodies and other officials with an interest in the Wood River Refinery.