Editor’s Note: In the May 30 edition of the Pleasanton Express, the story on the Appraisal Board complaints was not printed in full. We apologize for the error. Here is the correct story:
The Atascosa Appraisal District board of directors heard an earful of complaints from citizens regarding the recent property tax bills just delivered in the mail which represented a large increase in taxes (set by the State Tax Code and local taxing jurisdictions) on properties when they met on May 17 at 5:30 p.m.
After Chairman Arthur Troell called the meeting to order, public comments were first on the agenda.
Eight land owners spoke briefly to the board, expressing in strong language their dissatisfaction and disbelief of the large increase in property taxes.
One resident noted his house taxes increased 14% which was OK but the value of his unimproved land was doubled. “How do you double the value of dirt?” he asked.
A Pleasanton Oakcrest resident stated there was much flooding damage to her property but the value was raised $20,000.
Another longtime Pleasanton resident had his property revalued 31% higher. He stated he is a public employee and wanted to know how people were expected to pay that and added he should not have to sell his house.
Following the comments, Chief Appraiser Michelle Cardenas reported appraisals were completed on May 9 and notices mailed. Another study on school districts will be done.
Over 12,717 inspections were done, she reported. One audience member stated no one had been on her property within the last three years. Cardenas replied that with 41,000 pieces of property, it is impossible to visit all. The legislative statute says visit every three years but there is only a short period from Aug 1 to April 1. Often they are not allowed access, especially rural property behind closed gates, she noted.
The board voted to move the 2017 Fund Balance of $88,017.82 to the 2018 Operating Budget to be used for property renovation expenses of the school building which was deeded to the appraisal district at no cost.
Donna Jones, CPA, went over in detail the 2017 Financial Audit conducted by Ede & Company, noting the audit received the highest rating. The board unanimously approved the audit.
The board studied the appraisal district’s proposed 2019 operating budget totaling $1,580,116.70. It was noted this represented a miniscule increase of $33,162.47 over last year’s budget. Budget increases were explained line by line.
A public hearing on the appraisal district’s proposed 2019 budget will be held on July 19 at 5:15 p.m. prior to the board’s meeting. The board also approved changes and updates to the Employee Handbook.
Hiring Police Officer Considered
Noting that in six instances appraisal board members have been verbally threatened by phone and judging by how upset those speaking at tonight’s meeting were, the board discussed the possibility of hiring a police officer to protect employees who work at the appraisal district’s office all day. It was noted that most appraisal districts have some security in place. The board approved hiring security at the discretion of the Chief Appraiser during appeals season.
In other action, the board approved a Quitclaim Deed for the reversion of the building located at 274 S. 4th Street in Poteet. The board also considered disposal of a storage unit in Poteet formerly used by the appraisal district. Since it would not be cost effective to move the building, the board voted to donate the building to the Poteet Police Department for their use.
The board then convened into Executive Session to discuss pending litigation in nine cases. No action was taken when the board reconvened in open session.
The board approved the minutes of the March 14 and March 22, 2018 Special Called Meetings, Financial Reports and List of Paid Accounts.
The next District Board of Directors meeting and budget hearing will be held on July 19.
Board member Stuart Knowlton requested that future agenda items include a list of those whose appraisals did not go up by more than $1,000.
The board adjourned at 8:10 p.m.