Yough School District wants more property taxes from Tenaska Westmoreland power plant
The Yough School District wants more tax revenue from the newly built Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station in South Huntingdon.
Yough officials have filed an appeal in Common Pleas Court challenging the $1.9 million assessment used by county officials to determine the property taxes paid to the school, Westmoreland County and the township.
According to the lawsuit, the school district opposes a ruling issued in June by the county’s tax assessment appeals board, which affirmed the original valuation assigned to the 134.8-acre site on Nichols Road.
Yough solicitor Joseph Dalfonso declined to discuss specifics of the appeal or what school officials believe the property should be valued, but said Tenaska is one of the largest taxpayers in the district.
“This is the largest appeal we’ve likely handled on behalf of the school district,” Dalfonso said.
Westmoreland County has one of the oldest assessments in Pennsylvania.
The assessment figure is based on cost of construction for property in 1972. Assessed values represent only a percentage of a property’s fair market value.
The assessed value of the Tenaska property translates to a market value of $13.7 million, the amount used to determine taxes owed. According to court records, Tenaska’s property tax bill paid this year to the school district is $178,589; $41,494 to the county and $7,907 to South Huntingdon.
Tenaska spokeswoman Timberly Ross released a statement that said the company was in compliance with state and local tax laws.
“Tenaska Westmoreland is committed to being a good business neighbor — supporting the community while remaining a stable employer. Our record of community support extends beyond tax dollars. The plant is a generous contributor of funds and volunteer hours to community organizations,” Ross said in an email.
Tenaska, a Nebraska-based power company, began operations at the 940-megawatt natural gas-fueled plant in December. It can generate enough power for about 940,000 homes in the PJM Interconnection market. The grid coordinates power delivery for Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and all or parts of 10 other states, plus Washington, D.C.
Construction on the facility began in 2016 and it now operates with a staff of 24 employees, according to the company’s website.
Direct construction costs topped $500 million, the company previously reported.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .