Kimberly-Clark Corp. is seeking a $173,000 tax refund from Weber County, saying the diaper-making business is so competitive that plant renovations did not improve its share of the market.

One of the corporation's seven U.S. plants sits in the north end of Weber County. Huge, half-block-long diaper "converter machines" or "diaper lines" process raw materials into disposable diapers amid secrecy that might rival a defense installation."They're pretty secretive about what they're doing. Nobody knows what's going on in there but them," said Doug Freeland, deputy county assessor over personal property. "It's a highly competitive business."

The corporation is seeking a $173,000 refund from the county on its personal property taxes paid in 1987 and 1988. It will likely be granted next week by the Weber County Commission, meeting as the county board of equalization, according to the assessor's office.

The plant's total taxes for 1987 totaled more than $1.2 million, said Randy Keller, assessor's administrative assistant. That included more than $650,000 on the equipment, topping by far the more than $200,000 in taxes on the real estate.

Kimberly-Clark wants the $173,000 refunded because the corporation feels renovations made at the plant to update equipment should not increase its tax assessment as much as it has, Freeland and Keller said.