In what is being called one of the largest deals in the nation
for a private home, Oprah Winfrey, the talk show host, has purchased
a 42-acre estate in Montecito, Calif., for $50 million.
This news led Oklahoma County Assessor Mike Means to ask:
"Wouldn't it have been great if Oprah had moved to Oklahoma County?
Just think about the positive impact that kind of value could add to
our school districts?"
To find out, Means said, first, you take the $50 million and take
the 11 percent assessed value of $5,499,000 after the $1,000
homestead exemption. When you take the assessed rate and multiply it
by the millage rate for Oklahoma City Schools, Oprah would be
providing about $577,395 per year in taxes for Oklahoma County.
Means said about 50 percent, or about $288,000, would go to
public schools. The remainder of the money would go to vo-tech,
libraries, the health department and other county operations, he
"That would be enough money to hire 10 new teachers and pay them
nearly $29,000 a year, or purchase 200 brand-new computers and
printers for our students," Means said.
But, if Means has his way, Oprah's Oklahoma County tax bill would
be reduced. He suggests two options to lower property taxes.
"First, I'm suggesting we double the homestead exemption," Means
said. The $1,000 homestead exemption has not been increased since
1935 and doubling it would save a typical Oklahoma County resident
about $105 per year.
"I'm also suggesting a plan to help reduce taxes for senior
citizens," he said. "Currently seniors have to make less than
$25,000 to freeze property values." Means wants to increase that to
"An added benefit may be that more seniors may opt to retire to
Oklahoma if our property taxes for seniors were frozen," he said.
Means said both issues could be passed in the special session of the
An `A' for American Fidelity
American Fidelity Assurance has received an A (excellent) rating
from Weiss Ratings Inc.
Wiess issues quarterly financial safety ratings on insurance
companies. The "A" rating for American Fidelity was based on the
Oklahoma City-based company's fiscal strength and financial
American Fidelity is the largest life and health insurance
company based in Oklahoma City.
Stonebridge and Sonic
Stonebridge Technologies has developed a Web-enabled business
performance management and analysis system for Sonic Corp.
Stonebridge, which delivered the solution to Sonic in less than
30 days, also provided project management, user documentation and
The Web reporting system enables Sonic executives to access and
analyze point-of-sale data via a secure enterprise information
portal, James Ivy, president and CEO of Stonebridge, said.
The solution provides authorized users with at-a-glance reports
of trends in product, store and market performance. The information
can be used for in-depth analysis using the system's what-if
forecasting and planning functions, he said.
"Sonic's Web reporting system is a prime illustration of the ways
the Internet is becoming an integral part of day-to-day business
operations and how it can positively affect internal business
processes and speed decision-making across the enterprise," Ivy
Dallas-based Stonebridge has offices in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and
eight other cities.
While Oklahoma swelters in triple-digit temperatures, the
government agency that makes long-range weather forecasts is calling
for above-average rain and average temperatures in the state and
throughout the Midwest this summer.
The Climate Prediction Center in Silver Springs, Md., bases its
long-range weather projections on water temperatures in the Pacific
Ocean, past weather patterns and other factors.
It is predicting above-average rain in most of Oklahoma. …