Company appeals property valuation

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

An oil-and-gas corporation has filed an appeal in Osage County District Court regarding an Equalization Board decision in early July that reversed an earlier determination to lower an official property value used for taxation purposes.

Northeast Shelf has appealed a decision July 2 by the Osage County Equalization Board to restore a property value used for taxation to about $20 million. In a meeting May 31, the same board had lowered the value to $3 million, and indicated it might be willing to lower it further. The reduction to $3 million could have cost the county about $250,000 a year in tax revenue.

Following the July 2 meeting, Osage County Assessor Gail Hedgcoth said the Equalization Board had been provided with additional data relevant to the issue of the property value.

“Yes, I do,” Hedgcoth said Monday, when asked if she feels confident of her position regarding the land value as the court challenge looms.

“It could take a good year, probably,” she said, when asked how long the court may take to resolve the issue one way or another. It could even take longer, she said.

Hedgcoth said her understanding is that Northeast Shelf will continue to pay taxes on the property in question, but the money will be held until there is a ruling.

Road Will Not Close

In an unrelated county matter, District 1 County Commissioner Jerry Howerton told the Journal-Capital on Monday that a county road near Barnsdall will not close. Howerton said he had spoken with a person who reportedly might have an interest in seeking the closure of County Road 2400 and determined that the person will not be seeking to have the road closed to public access.

Howerton pursued the issue at the request of a resident, who appeared before the Osage County Board of Commissioners the previous week, on July 16. That person had made a preliminary attempt to investigate, and had turned to the commissioners for assistance.

Board to buy mower for acquired properties

The Osage County Board of Commissioners voted 3-0 on Monday to pay $7,015 for a 60-inch, industrial quality mower to use in the upkeep of properties acquired by the county at annual property resales for tax purposes. The county will buy the mower from Woodland Automotive in Fairfax.

The board also postponed for a week a decision on an inmate health-provider agreement for the remainder of fiscal year 2018-19. Sheriff Eddie Virden indicated he would recommend going with a local provider, who will charge the county about $6,000 per year less than the other competitor for the business.