Where it all goes (’12)

There’s really only one good thing about stagnant or declining property values: in a properly designed property-tax system, one’s tax bill should remain the same or even go down. And indeed mine went down this year, following the double whammy of a calculated $4500 drop in value — all attributable to the house, since the figure assumed for the land on which it sits remains unchanged — and an unexpected 2.87-mill decrease from last year’s record-high tax rate. What I’m paying for, with last year’s numbers in brackets:

  • City of Oklahoma City: $133.46 [$141.26]
  • Oklahoma City Public Schools: $494.54 [$548.87]
  • Metro Tech Center: $128.87 [$136.58]
  • Oklahoma County general: $100.43 [$107.23]
  • Countywide school levy: $34.53 [$36.60]
  • County Health Department: $21.60 [$22.90]
  • Metropolitan Library System: $43.37 [$45.97]
  • Total: $956.80 [$1039.41]

For the curious: the County Assessor considers the palatial estate at Surlywood to be worth about $3500 less than what Zillow does.


  1. munch »

    19 November 2012 · 2:43 pm

    I was taught that a municipality adopts a budget, the required revenue is apportioned among the taxable real estate in the municipality in relation to appraised value.

    Now people keep writing “my taxes went up because the value of my house increased” or “the town had lots of money during the housing boom because the value of all the house increased”.

    It seems to me that the relative value of your house to the other houses is the only value that in itself can increase your RE taxes. If every house in town goes up 100% in value each property owner pays the exact same size share of the municipal budget as before the increase. It is the towns budget that determines the absolute amount to be raised not the value of the houses.

    2 houses in town appraised at $50 each, town spends $4, tax on each $2

    2 houses in town appraised at $200 each, town spends $4, tax on each $2.

  2. CGHill »

    19 November 2012 · 5:31 pm

    The formula applied in this state requires the county to add up all the available taxable property, compare it to the budgets of the individual recipients, and then set the actual tax rate so that the numbers come out more or less even. Actual municipalities are considered an individual recipient; under state law, any property-tax revenue received by a city goes to debt service. (City revenues must come from elsewhere; in this town, it’s mostly from the sales tax.)

    So you’re basically correct, but there’s that one additional fudge factor built into the calculations — and the further complication that, assuming no changes to the property or its ownership, the basis on which the property is taxed may not rise more than 5 percent a year. (A referendum passed this month changes this to 3 percent.) Tax rates are tweaked to take this into account. There are dozens of individual tax districts just in this county, and each has its own specific rate.

RSS feed for comments on this post