By Vincent Morales, Commissioner, Fort Bend County Precinct 1
Did you have sticker shock last month when you opened up your new annual home appraisal from the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District (CAD)? I know I did, and chances are very good that you did too.
Everyone I talk to says the same thing, “Commissioner Morales, I have no idea where they got the idea that I can sell my property for this much money. And if they want to pay me that, they can have it.”
It’s become clear that the CAD are the only ones who know how their annual game is played, and that’s got to change. Their decisions on your property’s “market value” bring devastating consequences to many.
When business owners are forced to decide between paying the property tax bill or paying an employee’s salary, they are entitled to answers. When you see a 40% jump on your lot value – or on your small acreage – you are entitled to answers.
For the most part, the CAD operates as a closed system. But the system is so backwards, that in order to be successful when we protest – WE are the ones who have to protest and prove THEIR decision making. If you have never protested your property appraisal with the CAD, then I hope you’ll join me in making a protest this year. The May 15th deadline for getting your protest submitted is never well-marketed, and I hope you’ve made the deadline. Perhaps you’ve already hired one of the various firms around town who specialize in these types of protests, and they’ve been able to help you get some new answers about your specific property.
Frankly, we all deserve more answers. We deserve more transparency, more fairness and more public accountability. Over the last two weeks, nearly 11,000 Fort Bend residents signed my online petition demanding it, and our state leaders have noticed. We’ve received extensive media attention. We’ve been in communication with State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, State Senator Paul Bettencourt and State Representative Phil Stephenson – all of whom have pledged their help and support.
We’ve even been getting regular correspondence from the Chief Appraiser of the Fort Bend CAD. He says his hands are tied by the Property Tax Code, and so far, he has been backed up by legal interpretations of the current laws by the Attorney General.Read more