A Time to Consider How Your Property is Appraised
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
At the Commissioner's Court meeting last Tuesday, I was pleased to have asked Bexar Appraisal District Chief Appraiser, John Gaines to present information and respond to questions regarding appraisals in Bexar County. Although Bexar Appraisal District has the word "Bexar" in it, your Commissioner's Court only appoints one member of the Board of Trustees. In any event, I had the opportunity to serve on the Bexar Appraisal District Board of Trustees and so I believe I have a special insight into how it operates and some of the right questions to be asking. Some of my questions were answered and some raised even more questions.
What motivated me to invite the Chief Appraiser over to address Commissioner's Court is the persistent or chronic complaints by some of my constituents about dramatic appraisals that far exceed fair market value. The Texas Tax Code which governs appraisals, explicitly states that "all taxable property is appraised at its market value as of January 1." I believe that we simply cannot permit appraisals to exceed market value.
Unfortunately, a ruling by the Comptroller of Public Accounts, Carol Keeton Rylander complicates the appraisal business of Bexar Appraisal District because it causes the escalation of values of properties beyond their fair market value. The Comptroller's Office shifts at least some of the burden for this problem onto the Legislature. Now we have three participants, Bexar Appraisal District, the Comptroller and the Legislature, each one of which has its impact on appraisals.
In addition, some properties are being appraised by our Appraisal District back-to-back, in consecutive years at more than 10% from year to year. This is prohibited by the Tax Code. This is unfair to our taxpayers!
The result of our visit with the Bexar Appraisal District Chief Appraiser, John Gaines is that the Commissioner's Court has sent a five-signature letter requesting the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House to make "Property Tax Reform" an item for a Joint House and Senate Interim Study. In the meantime, I will continue to monitor the operations of the Appraisal District and ensure that every measure to ensure fairness is implemented. I look forward to keeping you posted on the Legislative response to this issue.