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Man's appraisal appeal shows problem in system

July 22, 2013 at 2:22 a.m.


Editor, the Advocate:

In the annual appraisal of property in Victoria, one piece of my real property took a 38 percent increase. According to the appraiser, the trigger was a permit to replace a composition shingle roof that was severely damaged by a June 2012 storm. This permit costs about $100, and apparently all contractors, regardless of what they might repair or replace, just add on the small fee to their bid to CYA. The city codes on repairs and replacement are very broad and leave a lot of room for increased appraisals and, hence, taxes. The appraiser drove by and changed the internal rating on that property from fair to average, all subjective.

In my appeal, I had 14 minutes rather than 14 days, and none of my three sales were the same as the six sales the appraiser had located. After the chairman of the Appraisal Appeal Board told me how they were independent and unbiased, the drama unfolded. This chairman was a longtime member of the VISD elected board. His appraised value went up 6 percent, which is about average this year. The two prior years show no increase, and the two prior years show each a little more than 1 percent decrease. Another member stated that I should feel good that my property over the time I have owned it calculates to about 3 percent per year increase. Another told me it was my responsibility to notify the appraisal district every year of the value of my property.

The major taxing agencies have some of their members on the Appraisal District Board of Directors, who then hire the chief appraiser and appoint the Appraisal Appeal Board.

There is more, but my word limitation won't allow it. My appeal costs to the district court can't be justified on the estimated increase in taxes.

The IRS and Justice Department has nothing on us. Get your council person to change the permit codes on single family residence repairs and replacement. Contact your city, county and school board member to push their Appraisal District Board of Director's members to act on your behalf with objective people.

Richard Fritz, Victoria

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