The Norman Transcript


February 20, 2013

City mandates on development result in counties maintaining easements and detention ponds

NORMAN — City mandates on developers are resulting in heavier work loads and cost to county road crews, according to the Cleveland County Board of County Commissioners. Worst of all, it’s a problem that is growing rather than shrinking.

Chair Rod Cleveland said he has inherited 2.8 acres of a detention pond that a Home Owners Association in Oklahoma City didn’t pay property taxes on. Cleveland is wondering if he can put liens on the homes in the area to recover the cost of maintaining the property which falls to the county if property taxes remain unpaid, and the land doesn’t sell at the County Treasurer’s June Resale.

“That seems to be a growing problem,” Cleveland said. “We do not have the manpower or the budget to maintain this.”

One of the most important jobs of county government is collecting property taxes which fund schools, libraries, the health department and more. When people don’t pay those taxes over a number of years, state law mandates that county treasurers sell those properties at the Treasurer’s Resale each June.

But some properties are easements, buffer zones, silt ponds, and detention ponds mandated by municipalities. No one buys those properties.

“If a property goes to resale and there is no public bidder, then it is deeded over to the county,” said Cleveland County Treasurer Jim Reynolds.

Anyone with an interest in the property is contacted, if possible, by the Treasurer’s Office prior to the sale.

“We have our sale every year. Taxes delinquent back to 2009 are the ones that will be in the June 2013 resale,” Reynolds said. “They put so much work into contacting the owners. You’ve got easements and other things. The problem that comes is most all of these were mandated by the city for the developer to create. Once the entire thing is developed, nobody cares for it.”

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