ANGLETON — Almost 3,000 more people appealed their appraised property values this year than in 2018, according to figures from the Brazoria County Appraisal District.
This cycle, 31,303 people appealed their appraisal values, up from 28,764 last year, said Al Baird, deputy chief of administration for the appraisal district. With about 160,000 notices sent out, that equates to about 1 of every 5 appraisals being protested.
That is still significantly fewer than the 37,895 protests filed in 2016, according to statistics in the district’s 2018 annual report.
“Remember, the 2018 year is when a lot of property values went down because of Hurricane Harvey, and this year, they’ve gone up,” Baird said.
The financial strain some residents feel when values go up and, in turn, increases the amount of property taxes they pay is one reason to appeal.
Brazoria resident Frank Quinty Jr. has been a homeowner since 2011, when he bought a house off FM 521 for $99,000, he said.
“Every year since I bought my house, they tried to raise my taxes,” Quinty said. “It went to $110,00 one year and last year it was raised to $126,500.”
Quinty said because he’s older than 65 and on a fixed income, he has a hard time affording tax increases.
“Because of the new appraisal value, my taxes will now be about $1,700 to $1,750, so about $300 more than I was paying for the year,” Quinty said.
Quinty said the appraisal district told him his property value went up when the home next to his, which is a mirror image of his own, sold for $149,000.
However, Baird said the appraisal district has nothing to do with increased taxes; by law, the district must go by the market value of the property.
“People can appeal by walking in and having an informal hearing first,” Baird said. “If they’re unsuccessful, they can have a scheduled hearing, then they’ll get a letter in the mail on the decision.”
The appraisal board will hear evidence as to why a property might be worth a different value than its appraisal, he said. The board considers age of the property, similar homes, damage to the home, including termite damage or other significant problems, as evidence, Baird said. Then they’ll take into consideration the cost to repair everything, Baird added.
Angleton Mayor Jason Perez said despite the appeals process, he has heard several complaints from city residents about their increased property value. The appraisals seem to be increasing more than they have in years past, he said.
“I’ve actually had some residents say, ‘Please help. As a city, what can the city do?’” Perez said. “It’s really starting to create some hardships because people are starting to not be able to afford their houses anymore.”
Though Angleton has some representation at the appraisal district — its board members are split among the county’s geographic areas — there is not much a city can do about values, he said.
“You know, right now the economy is strong, and maybe there’s that perception that because it’s strong that a higher tax bill is OK,” Perez said.