The Comanche County Assessor's office may have failed its 2013 performance audit by the Oklahoma Tax Commission, but Assessor Richard Strickland isn't worried. After all, he has plenty of company.
According to documents provided by Strickland, the assessor's office received a letter Jan. 13 notifying it that it had failed the audit. Comanche County was one of 35 of Oklahoma's 77 counties that failed.
Comanche County passed the audit last year, but the grading criteria have changed, Strickland said.
Oklahoma Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones said the audit started changing a few years ago and the state knows it will be a several-year process before all Oklahoma counties are in compliance with the new standards. He said 2013 is the first year that the new audit standards have actually "counted."
The major issue for most county assessor's offices is the types of computer-assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) software being used to handle the different aspects of an assessor's job duties. In many cases, counties are either using outdated CAMA software or are not using CAMA software for all functions required by state law.
Jones said Comanche County is using an outdated CAMA system that will have to be updated. He added that the Oklahoma State University Extension Office, which is partially responsible for training county assessors and their staffs, has put in bids on a new CAMA software that could become the new standard in Oklahoma, but that will be in the future.
Jones said there are differences in how the old audit and the new audit are scored. The new audit is much stricter.
He said the Tax Commission is more concerned with whether or not an assessor's office is improving every year and coming closer to being in compliance. There are no penalties for not being in compliance if an assessor's office fails the audit.