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Hay bales are stacked January 2018 east of Chobani in Twin Falls.

TWIN FALLS — After four months of meetings, the Twin Falls County Assessor’s office and Chobani have agreed to a settlement that will reduce the yogurt plant’s 2017 assessed valuation by $144 million.

Under the settlement, the Twin Falls School District and the Urban Renewal Agency will return the tax revenues that the company overpaid.

Chobani appealed its property assessment through the Twin Falls County Board of Equalization and the Idaho State Board of Tax Appeals before filing an appeal with the district court. The company argued its Twin Falls plant was actually worth $176 million.

Chobani’s facility valuation will go from nearly $393 million to $249 million for 2017. The 2018 valuation has been changed to $274 million.

The new valuation is a “better reflection of the current value,” Assessor Bradford Wills said in the settlement summary.

The original valuation failed to consider the rapid construction time for phase one of the facility, which was completed in 326 days, Wills said. Additionally, water and sewer capacity is a concern at the plant, he said. The company and the city are working to address the infrastructure’s future needs.

Wills also noted that the facility’s assessed value is likely to increase in the future as the company continues to invest in the plant, adding to its corporate and research-and-development capabilities.

Wills said the county saved on legal fees by avoiding litigation and described the settlement process as “respectful.”

Because Chobani paid its taxes in full based on the original valuation, the Twin Falls School District and the Urban Renewal Agency Revenue Allocation Area will return the tax revenues that the company overpaid. The school district will return approximately $803,000 in 2019 and 2020, and the Urban Renewal Agency will also return excess funds.

Chobani will pay more than $5 million in property taxes in 2019.

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