NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 3, 2013

Seabrook, NextEra reach agreement on N-plant's value

SEABROOK — It took about three years of negotiations, but town officials and the owners of NextEra Energy Seabrook nuclear station finally reached an agreement on the market value for the power plant from 2010 through 2015.

The settlement resolves potentially expensive legal action against the town concerning its assessed valuation of the plant in 2010 and 2011, which was pending after NextEra filed an appeal of the town’s assessment for those years. According to Seabrook assessor Angela Silva, the agreement established the 2010 value of the plant at about $1.383 billion, instead of a previously assessed $1.439 billion. And in 2011, the new negotiated valuation is $1.381 billion, instead of $1.434 billion.

The settlement resulted in a total two-year tax refund to NextEra of $1,192,176, divided equally between both years, and the repayment was mailed to NextEra before the end of the year, according to Seabrook’s attorney, Rob Ciandella. The rebate was paid from the town’s tax overlay account and will not have a tax impact on other town taxpayers, he added.

Rebates included, NextEra paid more than $13 million in taxes to Seabrook in 2010 and $15,489,626 for 2011. The total represents about 50 percent of the town’s tax base for those years.

In 2012, NextEra will pay about $14.9 million in taxes based on the negotiated valuation in the agreement, Ciandella said. In 2013, NextEra will pay $15 million in taxes, and in 2014 and 2015, will pay $15.5 million for each tax year, based on the negotiated values.

The settlement established tax values for the plant from 2012 through 2015 that again represents about 50 percent of the town’s total tax base, Ciandella said, which was an important accomplishment to establish for the town’s future financial stability.

In anticipation of the power plant’s expected declining value, the Board of Selectmen held the town budget down in 2012 with a 3.9 percent decrease in the overall budget, according to Interim Town Manager Joe Titone. For budget year 2013, selectmen established a goal of another decrease in the budget, proposing a 1.54 percent decrease in expenditures as compared to 2012, he added.

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