Rogers County Takes Steps To Collect After Property Tax Error
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - More than 8,000 Rogers County taxpayers must shell out more in property taxes due to a mistake in the county's annual bill. County leaders say someone wrote down the wrong millage rate on those bills.
As a result, two fire departments face budget shortfalls.
On Monday, the county took the first step in fixing the problem.
The county excise board met just a few hours ago and legally corrected those tax bills. That's the most important step in this process. Now, the county can work on getting that money back, and those fire districts are relieved to hear it
Tri-District Fire Chief Bob Anderson can't resist showing off the department's newest trucks which he just bought earlier this year.
It took the department years to save up enough to buy them.
The money comes from what's called a sinking fund of county tax dollars. This year, someone in the county office miscalculated the tax rates, so Tri-District would have only gotten a few hundred dollars for its sinking fund instead of the $68,000 it budgeted for.
The same thing happened to the Northwest Fire District with even more money at stake.
"New trucks, new equipment, everything like that, that sinking fund, it does make a difference where that decimal point goes," said Tri-District Fire Chief Bob Anderson.
Treasurer Jason Carini was the first to notify other county leaders of the mistake last week. His office is not responsible for writing the tax levies, only collecting.
As a result, the county excise board fixed the problem on paper, but the next step is figuring out how to get the money from those who were under taxed - as well as figuring how to prevent this from ever happening again.
"It's going to take a lot of manpower," said Jason Carini, Rogers County Treasurer. "We have a cost of the postage as well, the printing, and then we're going to have to do some software engineering, which will take some man hours. So it's really disappointing that this has happened."
County leaders say the new statements will cost those taxpayers between $10 and $15 more. They have not decided when they'll send them out.