Luminant lawsuit settlement ok’d

MilamAD accepts $410 million offer for 2011, down from $544 million appraisal

Luminant is Rockdale ISD’s, Milam County’s biggest taxpayer. Luminant is Rockdale ISD’s, Milam County’s biggest taxpayer. A long-standing lawsuit over 2011 taxable values by Milam County’s largest taxpayer appears to be on the way to resolution.

Milam Appraisal District (MilamAD) directors on Thursday okayed Luminant’s offer of $410 million as an agreed-upon figure after emerging from an executive session with their attorney.

The appraisal district had placed a figure of $544 million on the power company’s Milam County holdings for 2011.

Both the Rockdale ISD and Milam County, the two entities in which Luminant pays taxes, had been awaiting resolution of the litigation to close out their books on 2011.

RECAPTURE—Dr. Howell Wright, Rockdale ISD superintendent, said Luminant had paid its 2011 taxes in December based on a figure of $350-million, pending resolution of the lawsuit.

He said while the proposed agreement would result in the district getting about an additional $600,000 in taxes for 2011- 12, some of that money would go back to the state.

“Under school finance legislation there’s a ‘recapture’ provision and the state is probably going to take about $150,000 of that sum,” he said.

“But there’s no doubt that getting an additional $450,000 revenue on the current (2011-12) budget is very good news for the Rockdale ISD,” he said. “It’s going to help.”

“It also helped just to bring some kind of resolution to this litigation, which is something that’s been out there for quite some time,” he said.

The district made substantial cutbacks in personnel, and other cost-saving moves, for 2011-12, citing state funding issues.

“This has nothing to do with the 2012 budget,” Dr. Wright said. “That’s a totally separate issue.”

Dr. Wright had previously said a fivecent tax increase would probably be necessary in 2012-13, citing an anticipated 28-percent drop in taxable values and declining enrollment. More cuts are also envisioned.

MILAM COUNTY—The settle- ment should mean about an additional $360,000 in revenue for the county, according to County Judge Dave Barkemeyer.

The extra money comes at the right time. The county is gearing up for expensive murder trials in October and January. (See story below.)

“I look at that $360,000 as icing on the cake,” Barkemeyer said. “It’s money we didn’t have in December.”

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