Cimarron County , its citizens are being shortchanged
By C.F. David
Cimarron County is, in area, Oklahoma 's largest county with 1,178,950.96 acres.
Of that one million plus acres, 20 percent, 235,876.33 acres are non-tax producing state land.
At 2005 state levies, that 235,876.33 acres could mean $70,418.59 added to the county's coffers; we could among other things have an active State Extension Office, and our courthouse and schools more adequately funded.
Instead, the land is leased. In 2004, Cimarron County was reimbursed $22,760.02 from the Commissioners of State Land. This is about nine cents an acre. The difference between the potential levy and the actual receipt of state land funds $47,658.57. We've been shortchanged, and this doesn't include money from oil and gas being pumped out from under that same 235,876.33 acres.
The School Land Trust is older than Oklahoma ; it was founded with the enabling act of 1906, so that public education would have financial support.
In the west, sections 13, 16, 33 and 36 of each township, (36 sections of land). In the east, where the Federal Government had put the American-Indians on reservations, the trust fund was given $5 million.
Each section set aside has/had its purpose, for example; section 33 is for public buildings and corrections; Section 13 for state educational institutions, (Secondary schools and ôLand Grant Schools like OU, OSU, OPSU, etc).
Cimarron County Schools , Boise City , Keyes, Felt and Plainview share the money distributed back to our schools.
In 2005, Boise City received $20,344, Felt, $6,044, Keyes, $7,641, and Plainview , $1,149, for a total of $35,178.
Attempts by State Senator Owen Laughlin and Rep. Gus Blackwell to pass legislation to make the reimbursement more in line with ad-valorem taxes met resistance but passed both houses only to be vetoed by Gov. Brad Henry. Henry's explanation was that the bill was Unconstitutional, a charge denied by Laughlin and Blackwell. They plan to try again to get the legislation passed and signed.
Boise City News