The Madison County State’s Attorney has announced a settlement has been reached after the owner of the Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery objected to how much it paid in local property taxes from 2010 to 2011. Tom Gibbons says the Roxana School District must repay $8.6 million to WRB Refining LP after determining the district had no legitimate reason to increase its tax levy by such a drastic amount.
Gibbons negotiated on behalf of the county and after WRB filed the objection over the amount of taxes levied by the Village of Roxana, the Roxana Park District, Roxana Library District and the Roxana School District. After weeks of investigation and meetings, Gibbons says it was determined that the school district overtaxed the refinery from 2010 to 2011 increasing the amount paid by the refinery by more than $10-million. In his statement, Gibbons also expressed serious concerns over the financial management of the Roxana School District, and called for a review. He said moving taxpayer money from one account to another without voter approval and excessive pay increases for the superintendent and business manager were highly questionable. The school district has said if it is forced to repay the money, it would come at the cost of its staff, possibly laying off up to 40 teachers in the process. The library district will not have to return any tax money, but the other districts agreed to pay back their share to the refinery. An appeal by the school district is possible after the Madison County Court approved the agreement.