Friend of Friends

From Ronnie Krejci, Chief Appraiser Sterling County

Mr. Scott Milder,
Friends of Texas Public Schools

I read your article this morning, with interest, and agree with your points. As the former Superintendent of Sterling City ISD (retired) and current Chief Appraiser for Sterling County Appraisal District, local property tax increases are of current interest to me. Why? I work with appraisals.

As you know, property tax increases are a function of increased appraisals and/or tax rates. While increased appraisals cause increased revenue for the City, County, and Water District, increased appraisals do not benefit Sterling City ISD. In fact, under the current school finance formula, increased appraisals only benefit the state’s general fund. Furthermore, increased appraisals are NEVER popular with the local tax payers.

The Comptroller Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) Property Value Study (PVS) “influences” appraisal districts to increase appraisal values for Category A Single Family Residential. The PTAD’s requirement is that the ratio of local appraisal values and PTAD appraisal values be in the range of 0.95 to 1.05. Currently the 2016 PVS ratio for Sterling CAD is 0.745. To get to 0.95, either local values increase or PTAD values decreases. It’s that simple.

Furthermore, I trust the local appraisal values, done by our appraisal firm, and believe that local value appraisals are more valid & reliable. If the overall ratio of all categories falls below the acceptable level, then local values will not be certified for Sterling City ISD, causing an effect on its finances. 

On a different subject, H.B. No. 78 (Darby) – “Property values, and the estimate of local tax collections on which they are based, SHALL be increased by 7.04% for tax year 2017 and by 6.77% for tax year 2018”. If this bill were implemented, it would cause Sterling CAD to have to reappraise all properties and “artificially” increase property values by 14% over the biennial, and consequently property taxes would increase by 14%. How popular would this be?

The City, County, and Water District would realize more tax revenue, but Sterling City ISD would not. In the financing of Sterling City ISD, the state’s share would decrease by 14%.

Ronnie Krejci
Chief Appraiser
Sterling County Appraisal District

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