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Commissioners sign property tax resolution

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Implore Governor and Comptroller to provide relief for soaring property taxes

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KAUFMAN COUNTY–Commissioners met April 28 and agreed to a resolution to provide relief to taxpayers for property taxes.
Commissioner Pct. 3 Terry Barber addressed the court stating that  last year the Kaufman County Appraisal District (CAD) sent out notices of property tax increases to numerous landowners and businesses with increases in some cases as much as 400%.
Commissioners and  County Judge Hal Richards received complaints about the county tax increases and were blamed for tax increases, Barber stated.
“We explained then as I will now, Commissioners Court has no authority or jurisdiction over the Kaufman CAD and have nothing to do with setting property tax values. This responsibility rests with the Kaufman CAD at the direction of the State Comptrollers office in Austin. The appraisal district does not take direction or orders from this commissioners’ court and they do not consult with us or answer to us. We do however have the responsibility of setting the effective tax rate that we all pay to operate our county government. Some examples of this include such services as road and bridge construction, repair and maintenance and funding our public safety agencies just to mention a few,” Barber said.  
Commissioner Barber explained that after receiving numerous complaints over the last year regarding the property tax increases, the commissioners court lowered the effective tax rate by almost 9% to give some relief to the increased property tax values.
However, over the past few weeks, the commissioners have begun to get the same complaints about unreasonable property tax increases again for 2020.
The Kaufman CAD and Comptroller’s office claim the reason for the excessive increases is due to being under appraised, and they must get caught up and bring property values up to where they should be.
“It is not the fault of the property owners that this occurred. Property owners should not be forced to make something right for the appraisal district or the comptrollers office that they did not cause…Our world has changed drastically since the beginning of this year and this must be considered before expecting people to endure even more hardship from unreasonable property tax increases,” Barber said.
“With all this said and with all due respect, my message to Governor Greg Abbott and Comptroller Glenn Hegar and the local appraisal district, is now it’s time for you to step up and do the right thing.”
The resolution which was approved by all the commissioners, implores Governor Greg Abbott and Comptroller Glenn Hegar to take all necessary action to provide any and all tax relief to the businesses and constituents of the State of Texas during this State of Disaster including:
• Extending the deadline to pay all taxes.
• Granting a moratorium on property tax penalties and interest.
• Freezing property values at their 2019 levels.
• Reimbursing the salaries of essential county personnel who can no longer carry out their revenue-generating duties.
• Reimbursing the cost of indigent autopsies and burials.
• Calling a special legislative session to consider and enact further measures to ease the economic burdens and financial hardship Texans are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commissioners also heard a presentation from Project Manager John Jordan of the Nehemiah Group regarding the Spradley Farms Project in Kaufman County Pct. 4 near Interstate 20 and Farm to Market Road 740. Spradley Farms will be constructed in the style of the Viridian Community that was constructed in Tarrant County that was designed to meet Audubon Gold Signature Standards and was recently named “Certified Gold Signature Sanctuary.”
Spradley Farms would be around 613 acres and consist of 2,500 homes with a nine-acre school site. The average home cost in the development would be around $330,000 and bearing no other project hiccups, project development would begin Fall 2020.
In other business, commissioners:
• Approved the extension of Disaster Declaration for Public Health Emergency until June 12.
• Approved advanced funding agreements between Kaufman County and TxDOT for Bridge Replacement or Rehabilitation Project CR 110 at Jones Creek, CR 279 at Bachelor Creek, CR 312 Muddy Cedar Creek Tributary and Samuels Road CR 240 at Little High Point Creek.
• Approved the financing and purchase of a 2019 HAMM GRW180i-10 a road materials compactor, in the amount of $139,500, utilizing Buyboard Contract #597-19 for Pct. 3.
• Approved amending HR policy to conform with Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and applying for the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program.
• Approved Pretrial Bond Supervision Department Policy and Procedures.
• Approved letters of support for NCTCOG planning initiatives pursuant to Trinity River Common Vision Program.
• Approved claims for payment in the amount of $3,059,848.42.