Make us your home page
Instagram

Duke Energy to Citrus County: Expect still-lower tax payments

Duke Energy told Citrus County that if it decides to retire the broken Crystal River nuclear plant, the county will be paid as little as $10 million in taxes, far less than the $35 million billed to Duke.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Duke Energy told Citrus County that if it decides to retire the broken Crystal River nuclear plant, the county will be paid as little as $10 million in taxes, far less than the $35 million billed to Duke.

Duke Energy told Citrus County officials this week that the $16 million reduction in tax payments the utility made for 2012 will continue in 2013.

And if Duke decides to shut down the crippled Crystal River nuclear plant, the utility said its tax payments could go even lower.

In a letter Wednesday to the Citrus County government and the local newspaper, Alex Glenn, president of Duke subsidiary Progress Energy Florida, said the company was informing officials of its plans because of the "commitment to Citrus County."

"We recognize this is a difficult issue and that we are all facing significant challenges," Glenn wrote. "We are committed to working through these issues efficiently and amicably, and continuing the relationship that has provided so many mutual benefits for generations."

In November, Duke paid $19 million on a $35 million property tax bill to Citrus County and sued the county over the difference. Duke argued that the Citrus County property appraiser had placed too high a value on the broken Crystal River nuclear plant and pollution-control systems on two of its coal plants.

Duke Energy's taxes make up 26 percent of the tax base in Citrus County.

The decision not to pay the full tax bill plunged the county into a budget crisis. The loss of revenue forced a more than $8 million (3.4 percent) cut from the current school budget and more than $7 million (3 percent) from the County Commission's budget.

In his letter, Glenn said that if the utility decides to retire the nuclear plant, Duke's total tax payment could fall to between $10 million and $13 million.

The letter raised the ire of the county property appraiser's office, which maintains it is working to resolve the tax dispute.

"We don't want to be in this fight," said Avis Marie Craig, a spokeswoman for the property appraiser office.

The tax dispute continues to fuel growing speculation that Duke will permanently close the Crystal River nuclear plant.

Earlier this month, a ratings agency and a financial analyst stated that they believe Duke will retire the plant.

Jim Rogers, chief executive officer of Duke Energy, told the Charlotte Observer this week that he expects the utility to make a decision about the plant's future in February.

Duke says its letter to Citrus County about the taxes was not an indication of what any decision about the nuclear plant's future might be.

"We want to ensure that we are providing them information every step of the way," Grant said. "I think the letter stands on its own."

Crystal River has been out of service since fall 2009, when it went offline for a maintenance and upgrade project. During the project, the reactor's 42-inch-thick concrete containment wall cracked. Attempts to repair the crack and bring the plant back online resulted in more cracks.

It could cost $1.5 billion to $3.4 billion to repair the plant, plus $300 million year to purchase alternative electricity.

Ivan Penn can be reached at ipenn@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2332.

Duke Energy to Citrus County: Expect still-lower tax payments 01/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 10:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New Graham-Cassidy health care plan stumbles under opposition from governors

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — The suddenly resurgent Republican effort to undo the Affordable Care Act was dealt a blow on Tuesday when a bipartisan group of governors came out against a proposal gaining steam in the Senate.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined by, from left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters as he pushes a last-ditch effort to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. To win, 50 of the 52 GOP senators must back it -- a margin they failed to reach when the chamber rejected the effort in July. [/J. Scott Applewhite | Associated Press]
  2. Early estimates peg Hurricane Irma damage at as much as $65B

    Banking

    The damage totals from Hurricane Irma are still being tallied, but early numbers are in: As of Tuesday, the storm is estimated to have caused between $42.5 billion and $65 billion of damage. That's according to a Tuesday release by Irvine, Calif.-based analytics company CoreLogic.

    Hurricane Irma is estimated to have caused up to $65 billion in damage, said analytics company CoreLogic. Pictured is 
Hermilo Munoz Castillo as wades down a flooded street to check on his home in southern Collier County, Fla. after Hurricane Irma passed. | [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Port Tampa Bay makes public/private commitment for $60 million expansion project

    Business

    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities to divvy up who will pay for a $60 million widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel.

    Port Tampa Bay approved a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Company and Mosaic Company at the port's monthly board meeting on  Tuesday. Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson signs the agreement as Ram Kancharla; Port Tampa Bay's vice president of planning & development, Brandon Burch; project manager at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Lois Moore; of Alcalde and Fay and Charles Klug; Port Tampa Bay principal counsel, and Tim Murphy; deputy district engineer of the Army Corps., looks on. [Company handout]
  4. One of St. Petersburg's newest condo projects is sold out

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. Records show that a 2-bedroom, 2-bath unit sold Friday for $620,000 in an all-cash deal. Two other units — a 3-bedroom, 2-bath penthouse and a …

     Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. 
[Rendering courtesy of aalliiggnn LLC]
  5. Reload your SunPass account. Roadway tolls return Thursday.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida residents will no longer get a free pass traversing most stretches of the Florida Turnpike or certain local expressways across the state.

    With a push by the Florida Turpike to encourage more drivers traveling the Veterans and Suncoast Parkway to buy a Sunpass, motorists will begin to see more lanes converted to handle Sunpass. [Tampa Bay Times]