Skiatook group questions county tax rate

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

A group identifying itself as Osage County Concerned Taxpayers is planning a public meeting on June 6 with elected officials and other concerned parties to discuss what the group claims is a “continuing rise in property tax over the past few years.”

Spearheaded by a pair of Skiatook property and business owners — Shawn Martin and Lee Prince — the group has invited Osage County Assessor Gail Hedgcoth, State Rep. Sean Roberts, State Sen. Eddie Fields, representatives of the Skiatook Chamber of Commerce and others attend the meeting. At this time, it is not known whether Roberts and Fields will be in attendance.

“We are just a couple of property and business owners who got together and decided to start asking questions about how the tax rate is calculated, why the rate is now higher than Tulsa County, why our property values are over-inflated, and many more questions,” said Martin in a statement issued to the newspaper.

Martina and Prince say they are not affiliated with any political groups and want to keep their effort non-partisan. But they say that other property and business owners they have spoken with over the past few weeks, especially in and around Skiatook, are increasingly troubled with the escalation of their property taxes.

“This has raised numerous questions concerning why our property taxes continue to rise and why they are based on inflated property values,” states a flier distributed by the group. “So far, we are not satisfied with the explanation we have received.”

Martin and Prince claim their property taxes have gone up 3- to 5 percent each year. They also point out that their property taxes have increased to a total of 12 percent while, by comparison, Tulsa County property owners pay 11 percent.

“We recognize the importance of property taxes for funding our schools, roads, etc., and we are willing to pay our fair share. However, it is important to make our representatives accountable for how the money is being spent and how the tax rate is figured.”

The group also claims that Skiatook pays the majority of the county’s property tax, but is not receiving proportional funding for growing needs.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m., June 6, in the Skiatook Board Room located at 220 S. Broadway.

For more information, log on to: concernedtaxpayers@att.net, or through Facebook at www.facebook.com/osagecountyConcernedtaxpayers.