Minnesota Tax Court Finds No “Contamination Value” for Old Ford Plant Site
Posted on September 2, 2013
On June 19, 2013, the Minnesota Tax Court held that Ford’s Twin Cities Assembly Plant (“TCAP”) could not be assigned a “contamination value” for taxation purposes because Ford had not yet completed the administrative steps necessary to create a “response action plan.” Ford Motor Co. v. County of Ramsey, 2013 WL 3242880 (Minn. Tax Regular Div. 2013). Under Minn. Stat. § 273.11, the taxable value of a property may be reduced due to the presence of contamination, but the contamination value may not exceed “the cost of a reasonable response action plan.” In granting Ramsey County’s summary judgment motion, the Court reasoned that until it knew the cost of a “reasonable response action plan,” it could not assign a contamination value. In case of the TPAC, Ford had only completed the initial steps toward formulating an approved response action plan under MPCA’s Voluntary Investigation Cleanup (“VIC”) Program. Until Ford completed additional steps, such as a Phase II investigation and potentially a focused feasibility study, the Court held it could not reasonably estimate the cost of a response action plan and, therefore, the TPAC property, as a matter of law, had no contamination value. To learn more about the history of the Ford Plant, check out this interesting 2008 article by Annie Tietema. To learn about the current status of the site and possible plans for redevelopment, see the City of St. Paul’s Ford Site Planning webpage.