Marcus Hook upgrades will boost Sunoco's tax bill by $4.8 million

Redevelopment of the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex will add $4.8 million to local property-tax rolls next year, tripling the amount Sunoco Partners pays in real estate taxes on the former refinery site that has been converted into a terminal for the company’s Mariner East system.

Sunoco and Delaware County officials on Thursday announced the new assessment for the site, which a county appraiser gave a fair market value of about $180 million, more than its previous value as a refinery. Sunoco will pay about $7.1 million in property tax next year to Delaware County, Marcus Hook Borough and the Chichester School District, up from $2.3 million this year.

Chichester schools will receive about $5 million, the county will get about $700,000, and the borough will receive about $1.4 million in property tax. Andrew Weldon, the Marcus Hook borough manager, said Sunoco’s property-tax payment will account for between 15 percent and 20 percent of the borough’s entire budget.

The local contributions of the Mariner East system have come under fire in several jurisdictions across Pennsylvania, where Sunoco is building the 350-mile pipeline project to transport Marcellus Shale natural-gas liquids such as propane to Marcus Hook, where much of the material will be loaded on ships and exported.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday dealt a setback to Sunoco in West Goshen Township, Chester County, which has objected to the company’s plans to build a valve station for the Mariner East project along Boot Road.

The PUC kept an injunction in place prohibiting Sunoco from building the valve station — and completing its Mariner East 2 expansion project — on a new site the township says was not part of an agreement. The PUC’s decision will force the parties to engage in settlement discussions, force Sunoco to redesign its project, or await a formal hearing scheduled for February.