The Bosque County Central Appraisal District 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 Bosque County and compares those sales to appraisal district values. The appraisal district is supposed to be at 100% of market value, plus or minus 5% of that sale price. The study showed that single family homes were at 91% of sales prices and rural homes were at 87%. The appraisal district failed five School Districts with two districts being put in a year of grace to get the values correct. It is incumbent on the appraisal district to raise the values to at least 95% this tax year or the schools of Bosque County will begin to lose state funding.
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 the opposite is happening. The significant drop of mortgage rates driven by the Federal Reserve’s lowering of base rates has increased the demand for housing. In addition, many city dwellers are looking at smaller communities since they are working from home which is also significantly increasing the price and demand for housing.
The low level of appraisal from the Property Value Study is one part, the other is the sales of houses and raw, vacant land. We are seeing increases of almost 30% on average in market sales alone. Raw land has doubled in the past year on average.
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 may not see as much of an increase in taxes.
As values increase tax rates need to go down. Recent legislation lowered the amount a taxing entity can increase taxes over the prior year. Actual taxes, however, will not be determined until the entities have adopted a tax rate in August and September. If an entity does not intend to raise taxes, when the valuations go up, the tax rates are lowered to bring in the same revenue as the prior year.
Property owners will be mailed a notice of value in June with a proposed value. Property owners who believe their appraised value is higher than their property would sell for can come by or call the appraisal district and set up an appointment to speak with an appraiser. If an agreement is not reached, a property owner may file a written protest to have a hearing before the county’s Appraisal Review Board. The deadline to file a protest is thirty days from the date of the notice.
Anyone with questions or concerns can contact the Bosque County Central Appraisal District office at 9293 Hwy 6 in Meridian or call 254-435-2304.