|One Hand Giveth; the Other Taketh Away
February 2, 2008
Despite letters to the editor and postcards mailed to Richmond residents promising that the Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project will result in increased tax revenue to fund public services in Richmond, Chevron resumed its appeal of property taxes on the Richmond Refinery, asking for $59.7 million to be refunded and reductions in Richmond’s General Fund revenue by $4.7 million annually.
At the January 31 Design Review Board hearing, the West County Times reported”:
“Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer told the design board that in light of Chevron's current appeal to reduce its property tax bill, the board should not take seriously the company's claim, in promotional materials, that the project would inject cash into the local economy.”
"As soon as they get it finalized, they're going to appeal and say we were just replacing stuff," Kramer said. "I don't want you to think Richmond is going to get this windfall of millions to provide these services you so desperately need."
“Chevron spokesman Dean O'Hair said Kramer was comparing apples to oranges -- the property taxes the company is appealing to the payroll and sales taxes and jobs the project will increase”
Meanwhile, Chevron announced that soaring oil prices lifted the corporation’s annual profit to a record $18.7 billion in 2007, the fourth consecutive year that the San Ramon company made record amounts of money.
Chevron resumes property tax appeal
Company, county disagree on assessment of Richmond refinery
Article Launched: 01/08/2008 03:00:04 AM PST
The hearing before the three-member Contra Costa Assessment Appeals Board began in late November with the county's opening statement and picked up where it left off Monday. It resumes Wednesday and continues for at least six more days this month.
Attorneys representing the refinery are expected to present opening statements Thursday at the earliest.
Chevron and the county assessor disagree on how to assess the refinery's property value, from how much the land is worth to what investors should expect as a reasonable annual return. In 2004, the county assessed the refinery land at $2.5 billion, but Chevron says its assessment should have been $600 million. For 2005, the county's assessment was $2.6 billion compared with Chevron's estimated $940 million. In 2006, the county's figure was $2.7 billion, compared with Chevron's $1.14 billion.
If Chevron wins, it means the company will have overpaid $59.7 million in taxes from 2004 to 2006. Cities, schools, parks and fire districts throughout the county that receive the revenue would be affected in the future.
Reach Katherine Tam at 510-262-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.