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Bow officials continue to look at impact of lost court fight about Merrimack Station

By MELISSA PROULX
Union Leader Correspondent

January 18. 2018 10:09PM
Merrimack Station is located off River Road in Bow. (Melissa Proulx / Union Leader correspondent)



BOW — Town staff and selectmen are continuing to discuss the next steps after the state’s Supreme Court ruled that millions of dollars in collected taxes for the Merrimack Station power plant need to be returned to Eversource.

Town officials and representatives from Eversource, which owned the power plant at the time, have been talking about what the next steps will be, according to Town Manager David Stack.

“We’re still meeting and talking about options,” Stack said.

Eversource spokesman Martin Murray also said the company plans to work closely with the town to figure out a method “that best meets the substance of that decision, as well as the interests of Eversource and its customers.”

“Even with the recent sale of Merrimack Station, and the upcoming sale of our hydroelectric stations, including Garvin’s Falls in Bow, we continue to have customers, property and infrastructure in the town and look forward to maintaining a close and positive relationship with the community for many years to come,” he said.

The state’s Supreme Court ruled last week to uphold a previous ruling that Bow owes Eversource up to $14 million on the Merrimack Station power plant. This was because the town overvalued the plant and was charging more in taxes than what it was worth, according to the court.

Merrimack Station was part of a $175 million sale to Granite Shore Power LLC finalized last week by Eversource, along with two other fossil-fuel plants as well as some combustion turbines.

The power plant is one of the largest sources of tax revenue for Bow.

The hope is to have a full report on the impact to the town by this upcoming town meeting in March. One of these could include a repayment plan.

Other steps have been taken to less the blow to residents in the meantime.

This past year, the town taxed the power plant at the sale price rather than what they had it assessed at.

The town also set aside $1 million from the 2016 fund balance, Stack said.

And tax overlay was added to the most recent property tax bill, which brought in about $1.3 million. This increased the tax rate about about 7.8 cents. For the median value home in Bow — $300,000 — this meant an added $235 to the tax bill.

“(The Selectmen) have taken proactive steps to put some money away to help with this,” Stack said.

Stack said the town doesn’t plan on taking any more legal action in the matter.

Information will be posted on the town’s website as it becomes available.


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