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Oil, Gas Companies appeal Sublette assessments

PINEDALE (WNE) – Eight oil and gas companies with 38 different property accounts are appealing their 2019 Sublette County tax assessments, setting up the County’s Board of Equalization, comprised of the county’s five commissioners, for a lengthy hearing process. 

All appeals are based on the same objection as to how property values on equipment depreciated, which increased values, in some cases more than 90 percent. The companies want to use a depreciation schedule similar to that used by the Internal Revenue Service based on the equipment’s age – also called a straight-line approach. 

Sublette County Assessor Jeness Saxton followed guidelines sent by the State Board of Equalization that direct assessors statewide to take into consideration maintenance on equipment. 

The County Board of Equalization has 30 days to set a hearing, and both parties – in this case, the nine companies and Saxton – have 30 days to exchange discovery and fact-finding. The hearing must be concluded and a ruling made before Oct. 1. Throughout the hearing process, the Sublette County Attorney represents the county assessor and is unable to advise the Board of Equalization. 

At a special June 18 meeting of the County Board of Equalization, members were advised by Deputy County Clerk Tracey Hoover that tentative protests include Newpark Drilling Fluids, LLC., Jonah Gas Gathering, Ultra Resources, Inc., Omimex Petroleum, Inc., Mustang Resources, Inc., Foundation Energy Management, Urban Oil & Group and HilCorp Energy. 

According to the appeal filed by Jonah, the company is requesting a value adjustment based on obsolescence and a 57-percent usage of the equipment.

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