County assessor offers high-technology help to tornado damaged areas


Oklahoma County Assessor Larry Stein has sent some of his staff with its new technology to the tornado damaged areas of Oklahoma to help in the wake of the storms that killed four people on Saturday.

“We are sending out our crews with our leading-edge technology to discover and catalogue all the damage in Oklahoma County from the deadly storms that hit Oklahoma on Saturday.” said  Stein.

“Our Emergency Response Team will focus in the areas around South East 29th and Westminster where high winds and a tornado were reported.  We are also asking anyone who suffered damage to contact our office so the damage can be recorded and adjustments in value can be determined.  You can call our office at (405) 713-1241 or email us at to verify we have all the damage reported,” Stein said.

The damage to property structures will be used to see if a reduction in assessed value should be applied.  If the damage is severe enough, the property value and the property taxes on the property could be reduced.

Oklahoma County has contacted Murray County Assessor offering help to determine  the property lost from the deadly tornadoes that destroyed most of the city of Sulphur.

“Using advanced technology in Oklahoma County for assessing helps us help other counties during disasters.  Our past experiences responding to these disasters is often requested by other counties devastated by tornadoes, wildfires and other natural disasters.  Oklahoma County is at recovering from terrible storms and helping the recovery, something we wouldn’t wish on anyone,” Stein said.

The recovery in Sulphur is a way Oklahomans can learn about how important county government is. The downtown area is nearly gone. The FIRST – FIRST responders were county workers clearing the streets and emergency management searching for survivors. State law allows assessors in every affected county to determine the damage and reduce the assessment of value. Those dollars go away, but the funding of schools and bonded indebtedness of the local communities and schools continue.

When the value of property is removed—the property owners will have reduced property taxes to pay—those lost property taxes will have to be made up somehow and the legislature will no doubt be asked to help. And remember, this is just the beginning of the severe storm season.

Source: press release