Paperwork error costs Mountain View-Gotebo Public Schools $480,000

The superintendent of Mountain View-Gotebo Public Schools says as a last case scenario he may have to sue the county to obtain the district's funding.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Published: June 9, 2011

For the past four years, Mountain View-Gotebo schools has received a reimbursement for the tax exemption received by a wind energy plant with 84 turbines in Kiowa County.

This year Blue Canyon II Wind Farm, owned by Horizon Wind Energy in Houston, received its property tax exemption as usual, said Vanessa Kellogg, the director of project development for the southwest region of Horizon Wind Energy.

Kellogg said they were taken off guard to learn the county might not receive reimbursement.

To receive the exemption, Horizon Wind Energy must file a form with the Kiowa County Assessor's Office before March 15 of every year.

The form is then sent to the Kiowa County Board of Equalization and, if approved, the Assessor's Office has until June 15 to get the form to the Oklahoma Tax Commission Ad Valorem office.

That's where something went wrong.

Either the former Kiowa County Assessor Letitia Stockton, who didn't run for re-election last year, failed to turn in the proper form, or the Tax Commission lost or misplaced it.

Regardless of who is at fault, the bottom line is the statutory deadline was missed and Mountain View-Gotebo Schools didn't receive the funding.

Taxpayers likely

to pick up the tab

Evans said the district has pursued every option imaginable: petitioning the Tax Commission for forgiveness, talking to lawmakers, working with the state Education Department to adjust state aid, but in the end, nothing has worked.

His final resort is to sue the county, something he is still hoping to avoid.

A win in court for Mountain View-Gotebo Public Schools will be a loss for Kiowa County taxpayers, who ultimately will have to foot a bill that is ordinarily paid for out of funds from the state level.

“We support economic development, but this economic development can't be paid for on the backs of schoolchildren or retired people when we have a failure of the state agency to do their job,” Evans said.


I am truly just not sure why somebody hasn't stepped up and said, ‘We messed up, and we will make it right.'”

Dennis Ruttman

superintendent of the Caddo Kiowa careertech

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