South Tulsa Retirement Community Loses First Battle With County Assessor

Wednesday, June 6th 2012, 2:24 pm
By: News On 6

An upscale retirement community loses its first battle against the Tulsa County Assessor's Office.

Now, Montereau may have to cough up a $1.5 million in taxes.

There is an Oklahoma law that exempts certain retirement facilities from paying taxes. Since Montereau has existed, they've fallen under this law.

Now, the Tulsa County Assessor says Montereau doesn't fully qualify and needs to pay up.

South Tulsa's Montereau is considered a licensed continuum care retirement community, so it's exempt from paying taxes.

"Overnight, the assessor has decided after granting this exemption for 12 years or agreeing to it, that we don't have this exemption," said David Murlette, Montereau President & CEO.

Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel says only 40-percent of what Montereau provides falls under the exemption, meaning they should have to pay $1.5 million in taxes for the other luxuries that the facility provides.

"I think they're exempt on the licensed number of beds they have, but everything else out there, we chose to put a value on and leave it taxable," said Ken Yazel, Tulsa County Assessor.

To dispute the tax assessor's decision, Montereau will have to go through a three step process. First, an informal hearing with the assessor's office, which Montereau did. Second, a meeting with the Tulsa County Equalization Board.

A Tulsa County Judge granted Montereau an emergency stay petition meaning they could skip this step and go straight to step three, which is letting the courts decide.

Tuesday, District Judge Mary Fitzgerald threw out the stay because she feels it's not in her jurisdiction to make a decision.

Now, Montereau will be required to sit down with the equalization board.

"I was very happy that she saw the significance in finishing the administrative process that everybody should go through and after that then they can get it back in the courtroom," said Ken Yazel.

Montereau officials feel this is an attack on senior citizens.

"These folks have saved all their lives. They are on fixed incomes. They've moved into health care communities to live out their lives and for people to take care of them and the assessor is going after seniors. He's going after our retired veterans and we don't think its right," said David Murlette.

Now Montereau has two options. They can either appeal the judge's ruling or meet with the equalization board in seven days.

Montereau says right now they're planning to appeal.