The Bray-Doyle School Public District is waiting for the Ad Valorem reimbursement to check budget numbers.
In the school news letter, Superintendent David Eads wrote about the district budget as it stands now.
“Our budget is holding as we expected and our carryover or fund balance amount projected for the end of the year is still on track,” he wrote. “The biggest determining factor will be the percentage our windmill Ad Valorem reimbursement is paid by the state this year, but I expect it to be in the range we planned for.”
He explained the numbers will be ready around the third week of June and that the state had paid approximately 98 percent last year but this was based on state revenue.
Eads also said they were waiting on the oil and gas Ad Valorem numbers.
“We still have a few tax protests both from the year and from a few years ago that haven’t gone to judgement yet,” he wrote.
The tax protest stems from a 2016 lawsuit filed by DCP Midstream, an oil and gas company, sued Stephens County along with eight other counties in Oklahoma – Grady, Woodward, Canadian, Ellis, Beaver, Kingfisher, Major and Texas – over the value of its property taxes for 2015.
The taxes from the company affect 10 school districts in Stephens County for an amount of $689,728.
Stephens County Assessor Dana Buchanan said her office billed DCP $1,056,168 in taxes, and DCP paid the full amount “in protest,” making the county treasurer hold the portion of the tax money which is disputed. A total of $366,000 was released and distributed to the schools in 2016.
Withheld totals include $1,700 from Duncan Public Schools, $393,105 from Bray-Doyle's district, $232,953 from Velma-Alma, $31,520 from Central High and $16,620 from Empire Public Schools.
The remaining $13,828 would go to the other school districts of Comanche, Marlow, Sterling, Pernell and Fox.
DCP Midstream owns a pipeline which runs through the nine counties and oil drilling properties that feed the pipeline. The taxes are based on the estimated value of the property and equipment in each county.
In 2016 Buchanan said: “The two that it impacts the most are Velma and Bray-Doyle.”
According to Buchanan, in 2015 the company purchased $40 million worth of equipment in Stephens County.
“It’s ludicrous to think that we would only value what they had previously plus the 40 million they purchased for $44 million,” Buchanan said. “Their complaint is that oil and gas industry is hurting right now and therefore their equipment is not worth as much.”
Eads said Buchanan and District Attorney Jason Hicks were working on getting the case heard but because so many other counties and school districts were affected it was taking “quite a while,” but the district has budgeted around the withheld amounts and has been on target since.