The Norman Transcript

Opinion

December 1, 2012

Sandy’s aftermath: higher taxes

NORMAN — The superstorm that devastated northeastern communities will have a lasting impact on the area’s property tax base. It’s similar to the wildfire destruction in our county last month, only on a much smaller scale.

The cities and towns have fewer properties to tax but face the same load of expenses for schools, roads, libraries, health departments and other operations.

In most cases the leveled homes were in waterfront communities and carried relatively high valuations for taxation. Now, inland property owners will pay higher taxes unless state and federal aid balances the load.

Governors from the three hardest-hit states are teaming up to lobby the federal government to take on the lion’s share of cleanup and rebuilding. New York is asking for $42 billion in federal aid; New Jersey wants $36.8 billion and Connecticut wants more than $3 billion.

Property tax statements arrived for most Cleveland County property owners this week. Most owners whose improvements were destroyed by the August fires already had reported the loss to the county assessor but those who didn’t were likely on the phone quickly.

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