County Judge Craig Doyal urged county commissioners Tuesday to request the Montgomery Central Appraisal District to reassess flooded properties for the current tax year – which could lead to partial refunds for flooded taxpayers.
The move comes just after the county completed a budget process that lead to a nearly $20 million cut in county spending.
“It would be wrong, and an insult to the many property owners affected in this flood, for the county to be expecting them to pay taxes on the market value of their homes prior to being flooded,” Judge Doyal said.
Commissioners agreed unanimously Tuesday to request the reappraisal from the appraisal district.
According to state law, when requested by a local taxing unit, an appraisal district is required to complete a reappraisal as soon as possible of all property damaged in an area that the Governor declares a disaster area.
The local taxing unit requesting the reappraisal must pay all the costs involved. If more than one taxing unit requests the reappraisal, all requesting taxing units share the costs based on the proportion of taxes imposed in the affected locality in the preceding year.
For reappraised property, the taxes are prorated for the year the disaster occurred. The local taxing unit assesses taxes prior to the date the disaster occurred based on the market value as of Jan. 1. Beginning on the date of the disaster and for the remainder of the year, the taxing unit applies its tax rate to the reappraised market value of the property.
“This request for reappraisal will affect Montgomery County taxes alone at this point,” Judge Doyal said.
“If taxpayers want their school, city, township, or special district taxes adjusted to reflect their loss of value, it will be up to those taxing entities.”
“We represent only about a sixth of the average property tax payer’s bill, with the remaining taxes coming from the school districts, cities, and special districts,” Judge Doyal said. “Still, I wanted to provide what relief we could to taxpayers hurt by these floods.”
The district is in the process of conducting reappraisals of flooded properties, and that information, when compiled, will be provided to County Tax Assessor Tammy McRae to provide necessary adjustments on the tax bills for flooded homeowners.
Fort Bend County is discussing requesting a reappraisal for its flood properties as well.
The action will mean less tax revenue for the county for FY 2018 and will require further adjustments to the already lean budget.