All Around Wise: Appraisals start search for answers

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, April 27, 2019
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In the past week, many of us peered into the mailbox to see the envelope from the appraisal district.

I first closed the mailbox and hoped it would disappear before I reached back in and grudgingly pulled the envelope out.

Richard Greene

Full disclosure, I already knew what was in store after seeing my appraised value online, but seeing it in print only added to the displeasure and started a search for someone to blame.

Is it the appraisers? Is it the elected school, city and county officials? Is it those legislators? Is it all those Yankees and Californians moving here buying up properties?

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s all or none. I do know it hurts.

Seeing the approximate tax bill for the upcoming year and knowing how my mortgage has jumped several hundreds of dollars in the past five years due to taxes, it’s getting increasingly more frustrating. That hike follows, what many of us empty nesters faced in April when it was income tax time. As the standard deduction jumped, out the window went deductions as a benefit of home ownership. That’s a different topic.

The logical side of me can’t point fingers at the appraisers. They are doing their job.

As astonishing as it seems, the appraisals are what homes are going for. Just jump on one of the real estate apps or call a local agent.

North Texas is among the hottest markets, and the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan region is the fastest growing in the nation. People keep coming here for jobs. In Wise County in March, the unemployment rate was at 3.5 percent.

Agents will also tell you that there is a shortage of inventory, especially in many price ranges.

Local officials set the tax rates, but truly there’s little discretion there. We want fire and police protection. We want smooth streets and clean water. We also want to be able to pay teachers and provide good education for our students. That all costs money.

The legislature has made property tax reform one of its top priorities this session. But their best proposal so far is capping revenue for entities, which will have minimal effect on the total tax bill.

The big elephant in the room is if local funding for schools is capped, where does the rest of revenue for schools come from? Yes, there’s a rainy day fund now. But what happens when the next bust comes? In Texas, especially in oil country, we know boom times don’t last forever.

My whining over taxes this year will seem to last that long.

Richard Greene is the Messenger editor.

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