Houston, TX – In a unanimous vote at their October Board Meeting, Spring Branch ISD Trustees voted to conduct disaster reappraisals for those property owners impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Spring Branch ISD joins Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Katy ISD, Willis ISD, the City of Shoreacres, etc that have already acted to provide impacted taxpayers with much needed relief. Notably, the vote by SBISD means on the same property tax bill, taxpayers will get relief from only the SBISD portion of the bill and not Harris County or the City of Houston portions, unless they vote to disaster reappraise as well.
“Over and over, our board members stated their beliefs that this was the right thing to do for our community,” stated SBISD Board of Trustees President Karen Peck. “It reflects our SBISD core values of a Moral Compass, Collaborative Spirit and Collective Greatness,” she added in an October 12th SBISD press release.
Section 23.02 of the Texas Tax Code allows for a taxing unit located party or entirely in a declared disaster area to authorize reappraisal of damaged property following the disaster. Estimates from Spring Branch ISD are that this action will offer $7 million in savings to impacted taxpayers , and cost roughly $1 million to complete the reappraisal. Under Section 23.02, if multiple taxing units ask for disaster reappraisal in the same area they will share those costs. In an October 5th article in the Houston Chronicle, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett called disaster reappraisal “not a very workable solution”, citing the cost and the loss of revenue to the County.
“This is a workable solution now that another taxing entity expects to spend public monies here too,” continued Senator Bettencourt (R-Houston). “Harris County, for example, has received hundreds of millions of dollars more per year due to rising property tax appraisals. They can easily afford to split a few million in expense. Taxing entities should worry less about their own revenue streams and more about getting off the backs of homeowners who are trying to rebuild. It is time to put the taxpayers first!”
Hurricane Harvey is estimated to be the most expensive storm in the history of the United States having caused up to an estimated $200 billion in damage, across large parts of Southeast Texas. It is estimated that the storm dropped over fifty inches of rain on parts of Harris County, and a record 64.38 inches in Nederland.
“The bottom line in all of this is that we should not be kicking taxpayers while they are down.” concluded Senator Bettencourt. “It is a moral responsibility to give flooded out taxpayers a break!”