Appraising the Appraisal District
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
August 29, 2006

It always amuses me to see the misstatements about government that we hear with some frequency. Don't get me wrong. I am occasionally just as guilty as others.

However, since its inception some individuals who should know better have called the Bexar Appraisal District sometimes known as BAD, the Bexar County Appraisal District! BAD is a State agency with our County's name! To this end, your Commissioner's Court has urged the Bexar Appraisal District to change its name to Alamo Appraisal District. Even the acronym would no longer be BAD!

By law, this State Agency is run by a Board of Trustees appointed on a proportional basis with the major taxing entities usually making the appointments. They are: City of San Antonio, Bexar County, Northside I.S.D., San Antonio I.S.D. and the Northeast I.S.D. The sixth ex-officio non-voting board member is the Tax Assessor-Collector. The appointees are: James McAden, Chairman; Aaron Valenzuela, Vice Chairman; Helen Dutmer, Secretary; Keith Hugey, Member; Santos Villareal; Sylvia S. Romo, Ex-Officio as Tax Assessor-Collector. The website for BAD informs us:

Appraisal District Board of Directors Role in the Property Tax System

"The local property tax system follows the principle of checks and balances. An appraisal district board of directors hires the chief appraiser, sets the budget and appoints the appraisal review board members. The directors have no authority to set values or appraisal methods. The chief appraiser carries out the appraisal district's legal duties, hires the staff, makes the appraisals and operates the appraisal office.

The ARB's Role in the Property Tax System

"The appraisal review board (ARB) is the judicial part of the system. The ARB is a separate body from the appraisal office and serves a different function. It hears and resolves disputes over appraisal matters. This is a very broad and important responsibility, but the ARB must be sensitive to its legal and practical limits.

"First, the ARB only has authority over matters submitted to it. The ARB has no role in the day to day operations of the appraisal office or in appraising property." See www.bcad.org External Page for further information.

Hope & Greater Equity Looms Over the Horizon

According to the Texas A & M Real Estate Center, one-half a trillion dollars are being lost statewide by the failure of our legislature to enact a mandatory sales disclosure act. Because the Texas Legislature has failed to require disclosure of sales, many taxing jurisdictions are dealing with only our properties. What burdens us "known" property owners is the absence of the undisclosed properties just sold, but undisclosed! And since there is no statewide property tax, the inclusion of all properties on the tax roll refers exclusively to local taxes.

Although the special interest-tax-evader lobby has been successful in convincing legislators of their need to remain "under the radar screen", the 2007 Legislative Session holds hope. Also, our Chief Appraiser, Michael Amezquita is a state leader on this and other issues. With his leadership and enough pressure and effort, we can all gain from property tax evaders carrying their fair share of the local tax load!

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