CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Property valuation notices go out in May for Henderson County residents and Chief Appraiser Bill Jackson of Henderson County Appraisal District discussed the tax system April 22 with the Cedar Creek Republican Club before those letters arrive in the mail.
Jackson said the state has found that property valuations are too low for certain areas of Henderson County, so the state Comptroller’s office is undertaking a Property Value Study (PVS) to equalize market values for school district funding purposes.
If the PVS tests appraisals at more than 5% higher than the county appraisal district, the legislature uses the state’s higher values, which produce less state funding for school districts, Jackson said.
Currently, Jackson said the Eustace, Malakoff, Mabank and Kemp school districts are considered out of compliance with the Comptroller’s standards.
In 2020, Jackson said, use of the PVS raised Henderson County property values “off the charts, nearly,” triggering about 5,000 protests that lasted through October.
The chief appraiser said the process is stacked against local entities, with short deadlines, procedural obstacles and the use of non-traditional judicial systems, known as administrative courts, but that legislation is before the Texas Legislature to rectify those issues.
“The state doesn’t play by the same rules that we have to and that puts our schools out of compliance,” he said. As an example, Jackson said independent appraisers hired by his district found the state overvalued certain commercial properties “by millions.”
The appraisal district pegs the taxable value of the Cedar Creek Lake area at $3.402 billion, including commercial, residential and utility properties. The state puts the value at $3.6 billion. “That’s the difference we have to make up in our Property Value Study,” Jackson said.
Jackson also addressed the red-hot real-estate market in Henderson County, noting that over the past three years, property ownership changes logged by his district went from 6,000 to 10,000 transactions.