Harvey impact weighs on property taxes

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 10, 2018 at 5:36 p.m.

It's difficult to speak of property value when your property has a gaping hole in the roof left by a Category 4 storm.

Nevertheless, appraisal districts in the Crossroads are well underway with assessing property values and setting tax rates. This is necessary work in any case - these values let school districts and other entities know how much funding they can expect from property taxes - but a thorough and accurate assessment is especially important in light of the damage wrought by Harvey, which must be taken into account in order to set fair rates.

Fortunately, city officials know this, which is why property owners in the Victoria Central Tax Appraisal District recently got letters asking for photos of damage that has yet to be repaired. The idea is that if residents show their property has been impacted by the storm, their rates could be adjusted.

Certainly the last thing Harvey victims need to worry about is being upcharged for property tax on a damaged home, which is why we're glad the city is taking this step to get a clearer picture, so to speak, of property values and hopefully give residents fairer rates and a little peace of mind.

Of course, even with such a survey taking place, mistakes and miscalculations are bound to happen. Once property owners get their appraisal notices this spring, they will have 30 days to appeal if they believe the city's estimates are incorrect.

We strongly encourage residents to pursue a fair rate for their property taxes, both by sending in documentation of Harvey damage and by contesting inappropriate rates, if need be. Getting the right rate is worth the leg work.

If you haven't already, be sure to send the city documentation of Harvey damage by the Feb. 1 deadline and encourage your friends and neighbors to do so as well. The system only works if you use it.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.


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