Tulsa County Votes Against Suing City

Tuesday, June 23rd 2009, 3:19 pm
By: News On 6


TULSA, OK -- The Tulsa County Commission voted on Tuesday not to take legal action against the City of Tulsa over the Stadium Assessment District in downtown.

Commissioners voted 2-1 in favor of not contesting the assessment.  Earlier this month, the Tulsa City Council voted to assess the county $154,000 a year for the next 30 years on 11 pieces of county-owned property located within the special tax district.

Commissioner Karen Keith was one of two voting not to initiate a lawsuit.

"To put the assessment into perspective, if you include the county's 10 year contribution in the Brady TIF District, which is estimated to be $35,000 per year, combined with the downtown assessment, the county taxpayers will invest close to $5 million over the next 30 years to improve downtown. That same amount will be spent in just one year by private donors committed to seeing a health and thriving downtown Tulsa. All these investments will continue the progress in our downtown and ultimately make the county's investment more valuable," said Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith.

Commissioner Fred Perry also voted against taking legal action.

The dissenting vote came from Tulsa County Commissioner John Smaligo.

"I agree with the advice provided to the City of Tulsa by the Oklahoma Attorney General that before an assessment on property can be deemed valid the burden is on the city to show that the benefit to the property will meet or exceed the amount of the assessment. The City of Tulsa has failed to do this or even work with the county to find a compromise after the county expressed a desire to do so.  I believe it is in the best interest of the taxpayers to allow the courts to make this determination and to see that the law is followed and am confident that the county's and attorney general's position will prevail," said Tulsa County Commissioner John Smaligo.