Creek County Assessor's Office Surveys Fire-Damaged Homes

Monday, August 13th 2012, 5:53 pm

By: Craig Day

Efforts to assess all the damage from the Creek County wildfires are in full swing. Teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are still in the area gathering information that could lead to federal disaster assistance.

The county assessor's office is also out in the field surveying damage.

Those county teams are out working to make sure an already terrible situation isn't made worse, come property tax time.

Teams with the Creek County Assessor's Office are carefully documenting homes and other structures destroyed by wildfires.

8/9/2012 Related Story: FEMA Begins Assessments In Creek County Wildfire Aftermath

Houses like Glen Cox's home of 27 years was one of more than 130 homes and other structures the teams have already photographed in just a few days' time.

They're doing it so those properties can be taken off the tax rolls, so victims won't get an end of year tax bill on property that's been destroyed.

"The property will get adjusted according to the loss that's happened there," said Creek County Assessor JaNell Enlow.

The teams from the assessor's office will cover a 130-mile radius.

Cox said, when you've lost everything, any type of savings helps.

"It's going to help a lot, every little bit helps when you're like this. Couple hundred bucks here, couple hundred there—it all adds up," Cox said.

Typically, the assessor's office visually inspects property every four years, to assess value for taxes.

They're doing it again in light of the fires.

"To open up a tax bill from the assessor for something that is non-existent, that you only lived in for a few months out of the year—I just don't want that to happen to my constituency and to my taxpayers," Enlow said.

According to state statutes, May 1 is the deadline to remove damaged property from tax rolls, but Assessor JaNell Enlow is moving forward with it, with the hopes the state will issue a special exemption

"I'm treating my taxpayers the way I, as a taxpayer, would like to be treated by my assessor," Enlow said.

Land will still be assessed at its usual value.

Teams from the assessor's office still have a lot of ground to cover, while fire victims still face a difficult recovery.

"Well, there's not much left, but we'll just have to get by the best we can," Cox said.

Wildfire victims are urged to call the Creek County Assessor's Office at 918-224-4508.

The assessor said FEMA has given the all-clear for victims to begin removing debris. They're just recommended to keep all receipts for clean-up costs to turn in to FEMA later.


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