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These TAD board candidates want to cap your appraisal. But that’s not what the law allows

In Reality Check tales, Star-Telegram journalists dig deeper into questions over information, penalties and accountability. Read more. Story concept? [email protected].

While almost each candidate in the race for the Tarrant Appraisal District board mentions fixing the IT issues, some additionally intention to change the approach worth value determinations are performed.

Tarrant Taxpayer Advocates, the PAC supporting Callie Rigney, Eric Morris and Matt Bryant, mentioned the slate plans to transfer value determinations to each three years and cap residential appraisal Increases at 5%.

But limiting appraisal will increase is not a perform of appraisal boards. The Legislature set the cap of 10% for homesteads in the tax code.

“The adoption of a board policy capping or limiting appraised values at 5% is not currently allowed by law,” Joe Don Bobbitt, chief appraiser of the Tarrant Appraisal District, mentioned in a press release to the Star-Telegram.

He mentioned the Legislature may be inclined to make modifications in the future however that caps could also be much less obligatory as the actual property market cools.

Election day is Saturday. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bryant, nevertheless interprets the law from a unique perspective.

“There is no state law expressly prohibiting a 5% appraisal cap,” Bryant mentioned in a press release. “Pairing that reform with moving appraisals to every three years will provide a welcome pause to aggressive annual value increases that have become the norm for TAD — leading to one of the highest protest rates in the state of Texas.”

Chandler Crouch, a Fort Worth actual property agent and tax marketing consultant, mentioned he helps capping the enhance on property values in principle however the appraisal district doesn’t have the energy to do this.

“I’m not aware of any mechanism that the board could use to limit appraisals,” Crouch mentioned. “The current tax code requires the appraisal district to value property at 100% of market value.”

Crouch mentioned the appraisal district can be breaking the law by valuing property below market worth, nevertheless, he does assist board members advocating for a coverage change on the challenge to the state.

A 3 yr cycle on value determinations is allowed by state law, nevertheless appraising property as soon as each three years as a substitute of yearly might probably create issue for college districts, which obtain funding from native property taxes.

The Tarrant Appraisal District conducts value determinations yearly.

Crouch mentioned he thinks transferring to a 3 yr cycle is a nasty concept as a result of it places the faculty districts susceptible to failing the state comptroller’s yearly property value study.

“If the appraisal district doesn’t value the property accurately, it could negatively affect school funding,” Crouch mentioned.

He added that he does assist reappraising property much less usually, recommending a bi-annual system — comparable to neighboring Parker County — but in addition wonders how possible it’s in a county of over 2 million.

“They are a much smaller appraisal district than Tarrant County so I don’t know that we would have the same success,” Crouch mentioned. “I think It’s an idea worth exploring as long as they’re not putting our school districts in jeopardy of losing funding.”

Bryant, does not appear frightened about this.

“Other counties across the state of Texas already conduct appraisals every three years, I am sure the experts are aware of this and are aware this is done without placing undue burden on local entities,” Bryant mentioned.

The appraisal district appears open to discussing the concept.

“Most appraisal districts reappraise annually in order to stay within the market value range required by law for schools to receive their full share of state funding,” Bobbitt mentioned. “The appraisal district will comply with any reappraisal plan or policy adopted by the board of directors and will assist in determining any potential benefits of a 1, 2 or 3 year cycle for the taxpayers and entities we serve.”

Chuck Kelley, operating towards Bryant in Place 3, mentioned he is also not opposed to shifting to the three yr appraisal system however would really like to look at the impact it has had on different counties.

He additionally talked about that he was conscious that capping the worth of residential property was not allowed by state law.

“I am all for anything that gives taxpayers relief. But, those are not things that Tarrant Appraisal Board can do by themselves,” Kelley mentioned.

Kelley additionally mentioned he would somewhat spend his time centered on making modifications and bettering the safety of the district’s IT division.

The appraisal district suffered a ransomware attack in March, with roughly 300 Tarrant taxpayers’ data now posted on the darkish net. That adopted a cyberattack in October 2022.

Lee Henderson additionally a candidate for Place 3, mentioned he has issues about the three yr appraisal system and thinks state law doesn’t essentially permit for the three years system.

“TAD is not going to freeze values for they years. They still have to issue a market value appraisal on Jan 1. Your appraised value that you are taxed on will still go up as much as 10% each year. This is what the law says, and this board cannot change the law,” Henderson mentioned.

When addressing the 5% cap, Henderson took intention at the candidates proposing it.

“My opponents love to cling to these single talking points, because they’re deceivingly simple. The truth is that archaic processes and many other failings have put our appraisal district in dire straits; high taxes is just the result,” Henderson mentioned.

But Henderson does want to see a change in the approach value determinations are performed.

“We need a system where taxpayers have redress, transparency, and accountability for unfair appraisals and a top to bottom overhaul of how the district does business.”

Rigney and Morris did not instantly return requests for remark.

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