Finding annual property tax statements in the mail may not be the most joyous occasion of the year, but we must acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Muskogee County’s elected officials who made sure they were delivered well before payment is due.

Assessor Ron Dean and Treasurer Shelly Sumpter beat the Nov. 1 statutory deadline for mailing ad valorem tax statements to property owners by weeks. Of course, District Court Clerk Robyn Boswell deserves some credit for helping to get things moving in the right direction before leaving her post as treasurer after being appointed to her present position. 

This marks the second consecutive year Muskogee County officials beat the statutory deadline that requires tax statements be mailed annually to property owners by Nov. 1. Delays that had become routine pushed deliveries into December — on at least one occasion, into January.

Those delays presented problems for all involved — taxpayers, those entities that rely on property tax revenue for operational expenses, county officers and their employees. Sumpter said the automatic assessment of interest and penalties programmed into the computer system is triggered after Dec. 31, and any changes when that happened in years past had to be made manually. 

“I think that we’re definitely in a really good place now,” Sumpter said. “It’s less stress on the employees if you start early and do everything the right way. No one had to work overtime this year or into the wee hours of the night or on weekends, and taxpayers don’t have to rush to get in here and pay.”

Dean said Muskogee County, as a result of their resolve to “get this done,” was first in Oklahoma this year to deliver its budget to the State Board of Equalization, the first in the state to deliver its tax roll to the Oklahoma Treasurer’s Office, and the first county to mail tax statements to property owners.

There are a lot of moving pieces that have to fit in place to accomplish this task — coordination and communication and teamwork. Congratulations on a job well done. 

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