• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 2s

Pipeline value discrepancy settled in Supreme Court

By Emily Carlson 12:56 AM February 20, 2014

Ruling means the boroughs stand to collect hundreds of millions of dollars more in property taxes.

ANCHORAGE – It was a huge victory for some Alaska communities after the Alaska Supreme Court ruled on how the state should determine the value of the trans-Alaska pipeline.

For years Fairbanks, Valdez and North Slope boroughs have claimed the state was devaluing the pipeline, costing them hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes.

In 2006, the boroughs filed a complaint with the State Assessment Review Board.

The problem was a discrepancy of value. The oil companies claim the pipeline is only worth $850 million, the state said it was worth $3.6 billion, while the boroughs said it’s worth more than $11 billion. So who’s right? On Wednesday, the Alaska Supreme Court said the boroughs are calculating correctly.

The ruling clears up the long-debated question as to how the state should determine how much the pipeline is worth. A former member of the State Assessment Review Board told KTVA the state had been using an approach that assumed the pipeline would last 30 years.

The boroughs argued for a different approach, assuming that the pipeline will last 60 to 90 years. That’s the approach the Supreme Court ruled was correct. It means the boroughs stand to collect hundreds of millions of dollars more in property taxes.

“I think this decision is a victory for Alaskans and for Alaska communities,” said former State Assessment Review Board Member Marty McGee.  ”It’s an appropriate decision and it’s fair. That’s what we in assessment try to base it on. If you have to pay a tax on your home based on the value of your home, then the owners of the pipeline should pay a tax based in fair value of the pipeline.”

McGee was dismissed from the board last month. He claims it was a move by the Gov. Sean Parnell to stack the board in favor of the oil industry.

However, a Parnell spokesperson denied that claim, saying the governor wanted a fresh perspective on the board.

As for Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling, spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said the governor hasn’t had a chance to read the 50-page ruling.

“Although we are still reviewing the decision, the state’s methodology, upheld by the court, leaves more money in the people’s treasury,” she released in a statement.

The ruling stems from a dispute that stretches all the way back to 2006. That means property owners now owe municipalities seven years of back taxes. What still isn’t clear is if they will also owe interest on those back taxes.

Latest Stories

  • Crime

    Anchorage police investigating Wednesday night homicide

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 28, 9:37

    Police have charged an Anchorage man with two counts of murder following a late night stabbing, according to a Thursday morning release. Around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Anchorage Police Department was called to a “possible homicide” at the 900 block of East 46th Court in Midtown. When officers arrived, they found 33-year-old Kelly Frederick being […]

  • Lifestyle

    394-year-old Shakespeare book on display in Juneau

    by Associated Press on Jul 28, 8:27

    Alaska’s state library has opened a new exhibit featuring a nearly 400-year-old William Shakespeare book containing 36 plays. The Juneau Empire reports visitors to the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum in Juneau can view Shakespeare’s First Folio through Aug. 24. The visiting copy of the book, printed in 1623, is one of only 234 […]

  • Crime

    Former teller charged with credit union embezzlement

    by Associated Press on Jul 28, 8:08

    A 23-year-old Anchorage resident was arraigned this week on a charge of embezzling from a credit union. Federal prosecutors say Shanice Mano took more than $100,000 from her former employer, Credit Union 1. Mano was a teller at the credit union. Prosecutors say she accessed customer accounts without authority and transferred money to accounts that […]

  • Lifestyle

    ‘Timeless and ageless’: Celebrating Lauren Maxwell’s 3 decades of journalism

    by Jessica Stugelmayer on Jul 28, 7:03

    Many things in Alaska have stood the test of time. People, especially those who aren’t born here, don’t always make the cut. Lauren Maxwell began her career with KTVA 11 News on this day 30 years ago. Back then, the whole town was younger, seedier and steeped in money. “I’ve been lucky to have covered […]

  • News

    UPDATE: Police locate missing 4-year-old girl

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 27, 20:58

    Last updated at 10:20 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27 Four-year-old Alyiah Touyon has been located and is safe, according to Anchorage police spokesperson Jennifer Castro. “Officers located her down the street at a residence a couple blocks away,” said Castro. “She’s safe and okay.” About 30 people turned out to help search for Touyon, but […]

  • News

    DOC commissioner stands by decision to close Palmer prison after backlash from union

    by Alexis Fernandez on Jul 27, 20:40

    The Alaska Department of Corrections commissioner issued a statement Wednesday standing by his decision to close the Palmer Correctional Center, despite backlash from the union representing correctional officers. On Tuesday, the DOC announced plans to close the prison by the end of the year due to state budget cuts. The 500 minimum to medium security […]

  • News

    Economic outlook shows declining consumer confidence, expected job losses in Anchorage

    by Heather Hintze on Jul 27, 20:08

    Consumer confidence in Anchorage is at an all-time low, according to the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation’s (AEDC) three-year economic outlook. AEDC randomly surveyed 350 households in Anchorage which rated their optimism on a scale of 1 to 100. In the second quarter, for the first time since AEDC started the survey in 2011, consumer optimism […]

  • News

    War Birds take to the skies over Anchorage ahead of Arctic Thunder

    by Bonney Bowman on Jul 27, 19:24

    The Arctic Thunder Air Show and Open House is this weekend at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, but it’s not all about the latest and greatest airplanes. World War II-era planes knows as War Birds are also part of the air show. The War Birds are part of the Wings of Freedom Commemorative Air Force, […]