KINGSTON, Okla. ― Some residents in Marshall County were stunned when they received their property tax statements this past week. Some saw jumps of almost 20%. Daniel Armbruster has more.
In April 2008, Marshall County residents living in the Kingston School District approved a $12.5 million bond for a new building. When the Marshall County Tax Office mailed statements out last week, several people were not happy.
Kingston Schools superintendent Jay McAdams says there was no other way.
"Unfortunately the only way that we had the funds to pay for this type of project is to have local patrons increase their taxes."
In tough economic times, most people don't want to pay more in taxes, but when you have a school district that has doubled in size over the past few years, Kingston residents had only one option.
"All these facilities were desperately needed for this school system. The previous facilities we're replacing were in place when we were a school district of about 500. Now we're about 1,150 students."
Voters approved the $12.5 million bond to fund a facility that will house a new gym that can seat 1,400 people, a band hall, commons area, and a combined cafeteria and auditorium.
Marshall County tax assessor Debbie Croasdale says she has heard from many people who don't seem to understand the tax increase voted on by residents.
"Most of the people that I’ve had calling are the ones that out of town, that don't live here in Marshall County, and didn't get to vote in the bond election," Croasdale says.
If you live in the Kingston School District boundaries, you will see a tax increase of roughly 15%. By Oklahoma State Law, the county is required to reevaluate properties broken up into four districts every four years, so if your property was reevaluated in 2007, it is possible you may see an increase slightly higher than 15%, regarding property taxes.
That means if you pay $1,000 annually in property taxes, and you live within the Kingston School District’s boundaries, you will see an increase of $150 annually. The tax rate citizens in Kingston will now pay is close to a rate residents in Madill were already paying.
"We’re the smallest county in the state, and we only have two school districts, and right now there's only a dollar difference per thousand between the two differences," McAdams says.
Superintendent McAdams says that the school district plans to break ground in the coming weeks. If you have any questions regarding your latest tax statement, you are encouraged to contact the Marshall County tax assessor, or stop by the Marshall County Courthouse.