The Norman Transcript

News Features

June 4, 2013

Tornado hits pocketbook of Moore school district

NORMAN — Moore Public Schools could lose millions in ad valorem tax dollars as a result of the May 20 tornado, county officials said Monday.

Lost structures mean less dollars collected in property taxes, Cleveland County Assessor David Tinsley said.

“By using our aerial photography, we have identified 1,273 homes destroyed and 1,438 homes with minor to substantial damage,” Tinsley said.

The aerial photos used by the Cleveland County assessor are taken by Pictometry, a national company that does identification of property from the air. In 2008, Cleveland County contracted with Pictometry for an assessment. That contract includes additional assessment following disasters such as the recent tornadoes at no additional charge, Tinsley said.

How those damages will compute to tax dollars collected has not been calculated yet, but Moore schools will be most affected by the loss of ad valorem. Other entities affected will be Cleveland County and the Pioneer Library System.

Cleveland County’s general fund is 90 percent ad valorem taxes, County Commissioner Rod Cleveland said.

Losses in Little Axe also will affect the county’s general fund, but Moore schools are most likely to feel the pinch.

Oklahoma schools are funded based on ad valorem, but a state formula is applied to funding to equalize the dollars each school district receives. That formula may help ease the pinch for Moore schools.

The positive side of the reduction in ad valorem is that homeowners who have lost their homes will not have to pay property taxes on a home that no longer exists.

Tinsley said county assessors across the state were moved by the plight of homeowners last summer who lost homes in wildfires. Under state law, those homeowners still had to pay property taxes, at least for that first year.

Tinsley said Oklahoma assessors looked for a way around making property owners who lost their homes in the fires pay taxes on those homes but were told the law did not allow them to exempt those homeowners in the first year. The County Assessors Association of Oklahoma asked state lawmakers to allow for exceptions in disasters.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
News Features
  • March Against Monsanto Protesters rally against agro giant Monsanto

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Rain did not deter protesters at the March Against Monsanto in Bricktown on Saturday evening. A button on one man’s shirt was typical of the attitude of many of the marchers, “I’m one of those people,” it read....

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Moore Med Cent Groundbreaking Community still grieving but looking toward future, new beginnings

    MOORE — One year after an EF-5 tornado devastated a core area of Moore that included the Moore Medical Center, the community gathered on the site of the former hospital to reflect and remember those who were lost....

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple mourns loss of young lives

    When the tornado hit, Dennis and Wilma Chastain were holding hands. On May 20, 2013, the couple left their home in south Oklahoma City in Green Briar Estates near Westmoore High School around 2 p.m. to make it to a 2:30 appointment near ...

    May 20, 2014

  • Interfaith group invites women to join

    Women of a variety of faiths brought prayers and dinner and shared peaceful dialogue recently at a Norman home. Malaka Elyazgi’s prayer sounded like a song tripping off her lips in her native tongue. The translation was equally poetic....

    April 28, 2014

  • DUal-state advance Tough field awaits Southmoore at dual state

    Southmoore’s history at Dual State is a short read. The totality of it is a first-round loss to eventual runner-up Muskogee by one point in last year’s tournament.

    February 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Myths about obesity

    The obesity epidemic is among the most critical health issues facing the United States. Although it has generated a lot of attention and calls for solutions, it also has served up a super-sized portion of myths and misunderstandings....

    December 28, 2013

  • How to tame an out-of-control kid

    Edith, a retired Capitol Hill staffer from Washington, was at the end of her rope last year over the mayhem her 5-year-old great-grandson Wayne was causing at preschool. “I was on speed dial” at the school, says Edith, who is raising two ...

    December 28, 2013

  • Experts decry ‘resolution dependency’

    One of the country’s best-known fitness center chains is launching an initiative to wean people from what it calls an over-dependence on New Year’s resolutions....

    December 26, 2013

  • The 12 annoying songs of Christmas

    It’s that time of year, when Christmas songs fill shops, restaurants and your home. While anything on repeat can drive you mad, these 12 tunes are some of the most annoying....

    December 8, 2013

  • Caring for a cut Christmas tree

    Cut Christmas trees must be watered and kept hydrated to last through the holidays and to prevent them from becoming fire hazards. This includes small tabletop trees....

    December 8, 2013