October 26, 2021
For residents of the local area, nothing is more important than the future of their children. However, Oklahoma schools are uncertain about how their district funding will be affected by the property tax protests. Right now, treasurers are holding approximately $80 million of property tax payments in escrow due to protests related to the valuation of the properties. There is a dispute between the value of properties, assessed by the local energy company, and the value of properties as they are assessed by a local assessor. What does this mean for those who live in the local area, and what does this mean for the local school district?
Residents Are Concerned About How Properties Are Valued
First, residents are concerned about how their properties are being valued. They believe that the value of their properties can change significantly depending on who is evaluating the property. For example, energy companies are valuing properties at a level that is significantly higher than those assessed by the local county. Some residents even believe that their property is being valued in whatever formula sticks them with the highest bill, leading to a significant source of frustration. Already, a lot of residents are planning on protesting property tax bills in the state of Oklahoma.
The School District Is Left in Limbo
The organizations that are caught in the middle of this dispute are the local school districts themselves. School district funding is directly tied to the value of properties in the area. They depend on property tax revenue to remain operational.
Now, because there is some dispute related to property tax revenue, a lot of school districts are having their funding being held in escrow. This has led to a significant hit on the schools. Students are missing out on the technology they need to augment their learning. Other essentials, such as books, are also being held up. The school budget is short, the money is being held up, and the school does not have the equipment needed to teach the children.
How Properties Are Valued
There are a number of factors that are involved in valuing a property. This includes the size of the property, the materials, the labor, and the value of comparable properties. Still, the local county is in a significant dispute with energy companies regarding how to value properties in the local area. Studies have indicated that there is a need for a standard valuation methodology. That way, there is more transparency regarding how properties are being valued. This makes it easier for school districts to predict how much revenue they are generating, and it makes it easier for residents to predict how much they have to pay in property taxes.
Property Tax Protests Are Taking Place
There are property tax protests in Oklahoma that are taking place, but the direction these will take is unclear. Local officials will gather evidence that they can use during their disputes with the energy companies. The outcome will have a significant impact on residents and the school system, so everyone is watching with anticipation.