Tulsa County to get extra $12 million in property tax revenue

Monday, December 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Christmas has come early for Tulsa County.

The county is slated to receive nearly $12 million in property tax revenues it didn't anticipate collecting from fiber-optic companies this fiscal year.

Assessor Jack Gordon said the State Board of Equalization certified an additional $100.5 million in assessed value for county property. That assessment resulted in the additional revenue.

``This should decrease at least the sinking fund for all local entities and reduce property taxes for everyone,'' Gordon said.

Tulsa Public Schools is the biggest beneficiary. Schools receive 75.2 percent of property taxes and $97.9 million of the assessed values are in the Tulsa school district, Gordon said.

Tulsa Public Schools would get about $5.2 million of the money.

School officials said the funds would go to the district's general, building and sinking funds.

Sixteen companies are expected to pay the property taxes because of an Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals case. The court ruled Dobson Fiber Co. is a ``public service corporation'' and should be assessed the State Board of Equalization instead of by the Tulsa County Assessor's Office.

``We had them assessed at 11 percent for real property and 10 percent for personal property, and they came back to us at a 22.85 percent for all centrally assessed properties,'' Gordon said.

The State Board of Equalization assesses all public service corporation properties that occupy any rights of way, streets, alleys or highways. Dobson had argued that it could not statutorily be defined as a public service corporation.

Court records show Dobson laid fiber-optic cables under highways across central and western Oklahoma.

Among the affected companies, Williams Network Services, Qwest Communications and Cricket Communications had the highest assessed values.

The ruling can't be overturned because the Oklahoma Supreme Court chose not to act on the appeals court decision, said David Kinney, an assistant general counsel for the Oklahoma Tax Commission.