The purpose of this commentary is my rejection of 2020 Galveston Central Appraisal District appraisals and property tax. And to set the 2019 property tax amount due as the levied amount for three years. During that three-year fixed period the CAD appraisal methods and operations are revised.

Reviews of statutes indicate there’s no obstruction to revising the frequency of appraisals from annual. Tax revenue/collections will not be interrupted.

The statute(s) relative to property tax appraisal frequency says:

• “Tax Code Section 25.18 Sec. 25.18. Periodic reappraisals. (a) Each appraisal office shall implement the plan for periodic reappraisal of property approved by the board of directors under Section 6.05(i). requires appraisal districts to reappraise all property in its jurisdiction at least once every three years...”

• Sec. 23.01. Appraisals generally. (a) Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, all taxable property is appraised at its market value as of January 1.

• Board approval for reset of periodic to three years is sufficient to comply with statutes. The January 1 provision of Sec. 23.01 is not specific as to each or any subsequent “January 1” year(s). Ergo a January 1 within a three year interim is satisfactory for 23.01 compliance.

From public reactions and comments by elected officials the current operations/results of the GCAD is considered abusive and excessive. It’s abusive most to long-term inhabitant/owners that have no means to maintain property in pristine marketable condition or intent to sell. Excess in the appraisal amounts is proven by the percentage of appeals (and majority of success in lowering) that current methods of appraisals is flawed.

An entire cottage industry has grown that assists/performs the appeals for fees. Appeal service charges a fee (usually 35 percent) of the reduced appraisal amount. That fee, paid by the property owners, is a penalty caused by CAD’s widely accepted tendency for excessive appraisals.

The long-term inhabitants and those with non-income producing property are those most abused by the current CAD methods. Limited-resource individuals have been forced out of their property by taxes on frequent occasions.

The annual GCAD budget is $6,500,000. The three-year suspension of producing the appraisal statements will free significant amounts of the CAD budget to be used in the revision project (i.e. annual $750,000 in legal fees among several other line items will free funds to be applied to the costs of revision (study, definition and implementation).

Since inter-governmental oversight has been ineffective (no correcting actions initiated by the county court, the board of directors or the state comptroller), it’s justifiable that a panel of qualified citizens with accounting, operation and automation disciplines be allowed consultation/oversight on the revision project.

A monthly report with evaluation of progress will be published during revision. Upon restart of appraisal operations a monthly evaluation of operations will be published.

Now, let the public and politicians comments flow. Vote wisely.

David Hardee lives in Bayou Vista.

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(3) comments

Bill Cochrane

I agree totally with Mr. Hardee. And I will add a few things. The CAD always claims innocence in their appraisals stating that the "Comparable sales" of properties sold in an area dictate property values. The stock market has exploded and has historic gains. People retiring with these huge profits find their dream house and pay overpriced amounts simply because they can now afford it. That automatically raises the value of all of the "comparable " properties nearby, even though they have not actually gained any value. They haven't added any rooms. Not added a garage. Nothing. Then there's the Game of Appeals, Mr. Hardee speaks of. Here's how the Game works. The CAD raises your taxes. You decide to appeal. You hire a firm to appeal. The firm advertises that some of their staff has "worked" in the CAD office and knows the Game of Appeals. In Houston, there is a tax appeal company owned by the ex-Tax Assessor Collector, Paul Bentencourt. You hire them, and magically, your taxes are "corrected" and you get to pay to have your taxes reduced. Why hire someone to do this? Try going to any court without a lawyer.

Wayne D Holt

It should also be noted: for those over 65 and the disabled, there is a way to defer all property tax payments until you sell your primary residence or no longer inhabit it. It is a simple one page form available on the county website in which you aver your age or disability status. Once you have that, there will be no attempt to collect the taxes due until you leave your home. There is a 5% per annum interest on the accumulated taxes owed. I believe this will even stop an active tax foreclosure dead in its tracks.

This has been on the books in Texas since the 1970s but surprisingly few seem to know about it. In Texas, you should never have to worry about being booted out of your home in your old age or because of a disability due to an inability to pay your taxes.

David Hardee

These extra exemptions are controlled approved and offered by the taxing entities.

Some form of applying for is required to get these exemptions. Exemptions do not affect all the taxing entities and do not freeze the tax owed or the changes due to reappraisal. Some exemptions will allow a tax to be deferred. A tax deferral program will cause a penalty of 5% interest charge per-annum on the deferred amount. Also, there is a cloud put on the deed. That cloud restricts any sale or transfers till the owed amount is cleared (paid off). The tax-man will get the money, always.

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