County waives majority of taxes for formerly idled Texas plant

By Holly Jessen | April 03, 2014

A Texas county commission recently voted to waive all but 5 percent of a Plainview, Texas, ethanol plant’s taxes, as part of a 10-year tax abatement pact signed with the county in 2009.

White Energy Plainview LLC, a 120 MMgy ethanol plant, temporarily idled in January 2013, due to the drought, and restarted production in the fall. As a result, the facility came close, but did not quite meet, its minimum requirement of 20 MMgy of ethanol production in order to qualify for the tax abatement.

White Energy President and CEO Don Gales met with Hale County Commissioners on March 7 to request a one-time waiver so the company could qualify for the tax abatement. The matter was tabled, Hale County Commissioner Harold King told Ethanol Producer Magazine, and the commissioners later decided to waive all but 5 percent of the taxes owed.

The commissioners are pleased the plant is restarted and are glad the ethanol plant is part of the community, King said. However, they didn’t feel they could waive the full amount as the tax abatement question could come up again with another business. “What we did was impose a 5 percent penalty, because that was about what they were short,” he said, adding that the amount the company will end up paying is about $17,000 or $18,000.

White Energy declined comment for this story. The company operates three ethanol plants in Plainview, Hereford, Texas, and Russell, Kan. All three facilities are currently in operation.