CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Assessed values of property owned by public utilities have increased about $515 million, almost reaching a total value of $9 billion, members of the Board of Public Works were advised Monday.
Pending appeals of assessments that utilities may bring before the board Nov. 1, that should mean an increase of property tax collections of $11.6 million for the 2013-14 budget year, said state Property Tax Division director Jeff Amburgy.
Completion of the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line (TRAIL), a 500-kilovolt electric transmission line from western Pennsylvania to northern Virginia, accounted for about $283 million of the increase in assessed value of utility company properties, he said.
In West Virginia, the power line goes through parts of Monongalia, Preston, Tucker, Grant, Hardy and Hampshire counties.
Most of the rest of the increase came from natural gas pipeline companies buying property and expanding operations with the growth of Marcellus Shale gas production, Amburgy said.
"More property means more property taxes," he noted.
The 6 percent growth in assessed property value was nearly double the 3.6 percent jump in the 2012-13 budget year, which followed consecutive years of less than 1 percent growth.
While those increases pushed the assessed value of property owned by public utilities to a record $8.97 billion, pending appeals, there were some declines, he said.