Salt River Materials Group (SRMG), owners of the Phoenix Cement Plant in Clarkdale, Arizona is seeking a US$60m reduction in the assessed value of the company’s personal property at the Clarkdale plant – ie the value of the plant itself, not the land on which it sits. The plant is currently valued at approximately US$111m. The county assessor’s office says it’s worth closer to US$128m. SRMG says it is worth exactly US$56,944,903.
In a statement sent to Verde Valley Newspapers, SRMG President and CEO Roger Smith stated that the company’s appeal is based on provisions in state law that allow for "temporary valuation relief when economic conditions adversely reduce the value of an asset." The request is for a one-year reduction only. SRMG began upgrading the plant in 2002, spending about $115 million for a hi-tech, high-capacity kiln and other ancillary equipment. According to Smith’s statement, the plant operated at 29 percent of capacity last year and is projected to drop an additional 5 percent this year. "We are currently experiencing the worst economic conditions the cement industry has faced in the last 50 years," Smith states, "We must do everything we can to minimise our costs. Essentially there is no expense item which we can avoid."