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Austin Challenges Commercial Property Appraisals

by Kevin Kirkpatrick, San Antonio, June 2015

 

The Austin City Council voted unanimously to challenge the Travis Central Appraisal District's assessments of commercial properties on May 28. The next day, Travis County Commissioners decided against being part of the challenge.


Report Says Properties Grossly Undervalued


A report released by the city charges commercial properties were undervalued by an average 47% between 2012-2014. The report excludes apartment properties. Supporters of the challenge say the undervaluation has put an extra burden on residential taxpayers.


Austin's move to challenge the appraisals is opposed by some local government bodies, such as the city councils of Cedar Park and Round Rock. They fear that the re-appraisal timeline could affect their budget planning for the next fiscal year.


Finding Common Ground


Austin Mayor, Steve Adler, indicated that the objective of the challenge is to share the city’s information with Travis Central Appraisal District.        

    
“If the chief appraiser in reviewing that information believes that the rolls were properly done, or they could do a subset of a reappraisal, or any other number of options, the city would be willing to withdraw its petition to challenge,” TCAD attorney Debbie Cartwright told the Austin Monitor.


The state's Appraisal Review Board has 10 days to set a hearing once it receives the city's challenge. The city can back out any time before the hearing. Any withdrawal of the petition to challenge will require another majority vote by the City Council.