The San Saba Central Appraisal District recently learned that the State Comptroller’s Property Value Study showed the District was well below required appraisal levels. The State auditor checks local sales in San Saba County and compares those sales to appraisal district values. The appraisal district is supposed to be within 5% of that sale price.
The study showed that single family homes were at 81% of sales prices and rural homes were at 89%. Native pasture property was pegged at 85%. The appraisal district has only two years of grace to get the values correct and the district failed the study this year for their first year of grace. It is incumbent on the appraisal district to raise the values to at least 95% this tax year or the schools of San Saba County will begin to lose state funding.
Jan Vanderburg, Chief Appraiser said, “It couldn’t come at a worse time for the appraisal district to raise values, but we must do it to avoid the loss of school funding. Some people have thought that the pandemic would reduce the price of real estate, but we are finding the opposite happening. Because of the significant drop of mortgage rates driven by the Federal Reserve’s lowering of base rates, demand for housing has increased. Also, it seems that many city dwellers are looking at smaller communities since they are working from home which is also increasing the demand.”
The good news for taxpayers in this time of increasing values is that homeowners who claim the homestead exemption cannot be increased more than 10% in value. Likewise, over-65 and disabled persons have a tax cap in place so regardless of the increase in value, they will not see an increase on their school taxes.
Notice of Appraised Values will soon be mailed. Property owners should review their notice of value. This year, the notice focuses on value only. The often-incorrect tax estimates have been removed and the information will be sent later for those comparisons along with the meeting dates and times of local tax units to set their tax rates. A postcard will be mailed to you with this information in August. This is a statewide change by the 2019 Legislature.
When the taxpayer looks at the value proposed by the appraisal district, they should ask themselves if their property would likely sell for that amount. If not, they should file a protest on the form that will be enclosed. The deadline for filing is 30 days from the date of the notice mailing. They may call the local appraisal district to discuss the value informally or they may be scheduled for an in-person meeting. If the taxpayer is not agreeable after the sharing of data between the appraisal district staff and them, then they have a right to appeal to the Appraisal Review Board (ARB), a group of local citizens who live in the appraisal district and have been appointed by the local Appraisal District Board of Directors. They will listen to the evidence provided by both parties and make a decision based on the preponderance of the evidence presented. The taxpayer may appeal the findings of the ARB to District Court or arbitration.
Additional local information can be obtained by contacting the appraisal district at 325-372-5031.