Possible Tax Changes & Kennecott Eagle Mine

The Marquette County Board still has a great deal of uncertainty about the state’s possible change of how it taxes mining operations and how the changes would affect the tax revenue coming from the Kennecott Eagle Mine.

The County Board recently sent a letter to Governor Rick Snyder’s office requesting a meeting among all groups affected by the tax change.

The state says it won’t hold a meeting unless the county pays for an independent review to determine the amount of tax money local government units would need to keep pace with the amount the mine would bring in under the current tax system.

Chairwoman Debbie Pellow says the county has already chosen a firm that it would like to conduct the review, and it would cost no more than $15,000.

The board voted tonight to ask Kennecott to pay for the review.

If the company says no, the county will pay for it instead.

About six months ago, the state geologist told the county the mine site has an assessed value of $191 million.

There’s uncertainty over whether that was the site’s full value or a partial assessment.

Commissioner Nick Joseph says the assessment may be somewhat suspect, saying the state told the county for months before the assessment that it did not have the expertise to assess the mine site’s value and then came up with a figure very suddenly.

Standard and Poor’s has also given Marquette County a ‘AA’ credit rating, which is the second highest rating that it gives.

The company specifically praised the county’s effort to address long–term pension liabilities.