West Virginia County Claims Costly Error by State Resulted in Multi-Million Dollar Loss
Brooke County, West Virginia, along with seven other counties, is reeling from what officials are calling a significant mistake by the state tax department, resulting in millions of dollars less in property tax collections this year.
The issue stems from the assessment of oil and gas properties in the state. The state tax department is responsible for assessing these properties, using production data from the preceding years to determine their value.
Tax Year 2023 Oversight
For the tax year 2023, the department failed to annualize the data properly, leading to drastically reduced assessments across the board.
Commissioners in Brooke County expressed frustration over the error, highlighting the substantial financial impact on their community.
The county was expecting an additional $4.4 million in revenue, which would have been allocated to various essential services, including county government, education, and emergency services.
Commission President A. J. Thomas emphasized that the fault lies with the state tax department and not with the local county assessors or their staff. The repercussions of this mistake are far-reaching, affecting multiple departments and services within each affected county.
In Brooke County alone, the loss of revenue translates to approximately $900,000 for the county government, several million dollars for the Board of Education, and significant funding shortfalls for initiatives such as the fire levy.
West Virginia Counties Lose Millions
The impact extends beyond Brooke County, with seven other counties experiencing similar financial setbacks. Counties such as Tyler County are facing staggering losses, with estimates reaching $15 million in lost revenue.
The affected counties, including Brooke, Doddridge, Harrison, Marshall, Monongalia, Pleasants, Tyler, and Wetzel, are now grappling with the consequences of this oversight. Discussions are underway to address the shortfall and mitigate its effects on essential services and community programs.
As officials work to rectify the situation, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of accurate assessment and diligent oversight in financial matters. Brooke County and its counterparts are hopeful for a swift resolution to ensure the stability and well-being of their communities moving forward.