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Protests Of Travis County Home Appraisals Reach An All-Time High

Gabriel C. Pérez

About 140,000 people are protesting their property appraisals this year – an all-time high, according to the Travis Central Appraisal District.

Many homeowners are frustrated by high tax bills due to increased appraisal values.

“The infrastructure [in Travis County] is being rebuilt and we understand all of that and we’ve got school taxes, but I think that the tax rates are a little excessive," said Barbara Kennedy, who has owned her home for 23 years. "You just have to be proactive as a homeowner.”

Kennedy said she has protested her appraisal five times over the past 15 years. Her home was last appraised at about $417,000, but she said it's worth $385,000 at most. Kennedy said the large number of people protesting has caused a longer wait time for formal hearings.

“[TCAD staff] do try to be accommodating to people and they brought in some refreshments and they’re respectful,” Kennedy said. “It’s just a process, and I did take off work today knowing that I would probably be here about four hours.”

The average wait time for informal meetings is about 15 minutes, but the time for formal meetings fluctuates.

“When one property owner takes an hour for an appointment that's scheduled for 20 minutes, it throws everybody off,” said Marya Crigler, chief appraiser for TCAD.

To save time, Crigler said, TCAD is asking homeowners who come in to present the most important facts about their cases first.  

“We’re going to do our very best to get everybody worked and give them the opportunity to speak to the appraisal review board or to meet informally with one of our appraisers,” she said.

Crigler said TCAD has received 10 percent more protests every year for the past five years. Last year, 127,000 homeowners protested their appraisals, and most single-family homeowners got their reassessed home values reduced by more than $9,000.

TCAD will host formal meetings at the Travis County Exposition Center beginning June 25 to accommodate the large number of people protesting. The appraisal district must complete most of the hearings by July 20.

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