Comal Appraisal District board to meet

by Crystal Gottfried, Staff Writer

If you've ever wondered what goes on at the Comal Appraisal District, your chance to know more about it comes Monday.

Public notice was posted last week that the board of directors of the appraisal district will meet for a formal budget hearing on Monday, June 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the appraisal district office at 178 East Mill Street, Suite 200, in New Braunfels.

Board members Gary Boldt, James Bower, Eric Couch, Jim Rice, Scott R. Watson, and County Tax Assessor/Collector and Board Chairman Sherman Kause plan to discuss communications from citizens and present the 2005 audit as well as the Chief Appraiser's report, among other agenda items.

According to the Texas State Comptroller's website, every year, the county appraisal district must choose local citizens to sit on the board of directors to oversee the district's actions. Each CAD is governed by a board of directors that is selected by the taxing units within the CAD. The directors in turn select appraisal review boards (ARBs), which review taxpayer challenges to property appraisals. CADs are also required to have agricultural advisory boards.

The board of directors establishes the goals and policies of the CAD and is responsible for selecting the chief appraiser and approving the members of the agricultural advisory board.

Most board members are citizen appointees of the taxing units in the CAD as well as county tax assessor-collectors, school board members, county judges, county commissioners, city council members or other elected officials. They represent the interests of the respective taxing units that appoint them.

State law requires that if a taxing unit does not appoint the county tax assessor-collector to the CAD board, then the county assessor-collector serves as a non-voting CAD director.

Appraisal review boards (ARBs) are separate entities appointed by CAD directors to handle taxpayer protests and taxing unit challenges. Each CAD's board of directors determine the number of ARB members to appoint, with a minimum of three members.

The Comal County appraisal board will also discuss their state-allowed option to retain pre-paid legal services on June 19, to provide legal assistance with protest hearings or appeals.

Since property tax estimations were mailed to owners three weeks ago, the appraisal office has been inundated with protests from residential property owners and this year, business owners as well.

The district's Chief Appraiser Lynn Rodgers said in news reports that he is expecting a lot more property owners to file a protest this year because his office has worked diligently to get the sales price evidence they needed to increase commercial property values that have remained low for the last several years.

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