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Nov 7, 2013 12:03 PM by Q2 News

Laurel refinery tax settlement frees millions of dollars for school district, county

Yellowstone County will collect on some of its more than $40 million in taxes that have been locked up in protest.

The Cenex Harvest States Refinery in Laurel has reached a settlement with the state Department of Revenue to settle the longstanding tax dispute.

Cenex had protested about $16 million taxes from 2009 to 2012. The settlement calls for the company to receive about $4 million of that back.

Of the remaining $16 million, $12 million will come back to Yellowstone County, Laurel Public Schools, and the state of Montana.

Yellowstone County Treasurer Max Lenington said the settlement avoids more costly, time-consuming litigation.

"Our tax appeal board was kind of afraid of it because what years were we going to deal with," Lenington said. "We had (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012) all tied up on an initial 2009 appraisal protest, so it was just a lot of questions. So this is by far the easiest and best way out of this thing."

The Cenex main office in St. Paul, MN released a statement from Cenex Refinery Manger Pat Kimmet.

"We are pleased that CHS has reached an agreement with the Montana Department of Revenue," Kimmet said. "All parties that have been affected by the appeals will be able to move forward. We will continue to work with state officials to address our concerns regarding the assessment process."

The settlement also applies to tax year 2013, so Cenex will not protest this year but will now receive a lower tax bill.


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