Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun">

RG Steel, state agree on lower property-tax assessment

RG Steel is asking for U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval for a settlement with Maryland that lowers its Sparrows Point property assessment, reducing its

Baltimore County

bill for the past three tax years.

The steel mill owner calculated in a court filing that its tax bill would fall about $830,000 for the 2011 tax year. It didn't note the effect for previous years.

RG Steel said it won a $34 million reduction on the property's 2009 assessed value — to just under $204 million — in Maryland Tax Court in August. RG Steel has also contested its assessments for the 2010 and 2011 tax years.

The company said it and the state Department of Assessments and Taxation agreed to waive further appeals by setting the market value at nearly $204 million for each of the three years — still substantially more than the $72.5 million that Sparrows Point sold for at an August auction. The amount on which RG Steel would actually be taxed would be phased in, from $153 million in 2009 to the full value for 2011.

Baltimore County is among RG Steel's creditors. Shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy in May, the county said it was owed $4.5 million in state and county property taxes and related fees.