RBC valuation more than $1.2B

RBC I For the third year in a row, the assessed value of Rio Blanco County (RBC) is more than $1 billion.
Although the 2011 values will not be final until Dec. 10, 2011, Rio Blanco County assessor Renae Neilson reported the county’s total taxable assessed value as of July 8, 2011, at $1,241,750,220.
“It’s up about 10 percent over last year,” Neilson told commissioners, attributing the increase to oil and gas production.
Rio Blanco County broke the $1 billion mark in 2009 with an assessed value of $1,161,209,270 and although 2010 was lower than the record-breaking year of 2009, the county was still valued at $1,128,334,240.
Neilson reported 170 real property protests, 91 personal property and oil and gas protests and 109 late filing fees.
Neilson said 12 drilling rigs operated in the county in 2010, all located in district 34. Six operated 365 days in the county, five were apportioned with other counties and one was stacked in RBC.
Neilson broke down the assessed value as follows:
n Total assessed value for vacant land: $6,406,200
n Total assessed value for residential: $34,262,910
n Total assessed value for commercial: $29,824,510
n Total assessed value for industrial: $333,414,710
n Total assessed value for agricultural: $21,473,500
n Total assessed value for natural resources: $35,525,180
n Total assessed value for oil and gas: $669,805,510
n Total state assessed: $111,037,700**
**Current state assessed total includes personal property and the state assessed value is the December 2010 valuation at the time of re-certification. The division of property taxation does not provide the 2011 state assessed value until Aug. 1, 2011.
“We’re starting to see revenue from some of those big gas plants,” commissioner chair Kai Turner said. “These are preliminary numbers and we still budget conservatively but this will allow up to do some much needed repairs on infrastructure and some of our older buildings.”
RBC commissioners approved a special use permit (SUP) to Shell Frontier Oil and Gas, Inc. Jeff Madison, with the RBC planning and natural resource department, presented the request for the construction and use of their proposed east research, development and demonstration (RD&D) lease and nahcolite preference rights sodium lease.
Madison said the proposed project was located on one of five RD&D leases permitted in the county eight years ago. Shell has three of the five RD&D leases in the county.
“They’ve been through an extensive process with the BLM,” Madison said, recommending the commissioners approve the SUP, which they did with several conditions.
Madison said 85 people would be employed at the peak of the project and 25 would be needed to operate it, most housed in temporary living quarters on Shell property.