Ratliff, Arledge head to MCAD board

Rockdale ISD sends local business representatives to directorships

Ratliff Ratliff The Rockdale ISD is giving "the business" to the Milam County Appraisal District (MCAD) board of directors.

Literally. School trustees on Monday nominated Rockdale business people Joan Ratliff and Tim Arledge to the MCAD board which oversees the appraisal district's activities.

Nomination by the RISD is the same as election, even though votes won't actually be cast until later this year.

MCAD directors are elected by votes pro-rated among the county's taxing entities based on their tax levies.

Rockdale ISD has enough votes to elect two board members without any support from any of the other entities.

'Fair and efficient'

In Ratliff's case the MCAD position is particularly meaningful.

She's co-owner of the Rainbow Courts motel, a business which saw its taxable values rise more than 1,000 percent after the MCAD applied a different appraisal formula than was used in other years.

She was one of several Rockdale motel owners protesting those values, to no avail, before the ARB.

Now she will be a member of the board which sets MCAD policy.

Arledge Arledge But Ratliff doesn't see herself as a one-issue director.

"My concern is going to be exactly the same as everyone else's," she said. "To see that appraisals are done fairly and efficiently."

'Business climate' "I'm especially concerned that the MCAD take into account the business climate that currently exists in this area," she said. "We all know what's happened in the last year."

The ARB used a formula tied to sales taxes reported by motels, not the actual value of the physical plants, to calculate appraisal values.

That's called income-based appraising and it led to increases between 300 and more than 1,000 percent for Rockdale's motels, which had a banner year in 2008 due to construction of Luminant's Sandow 5 Power Plant.

That construction is over.

Chief Appraiser Pat Moraw defended the use of income-based appraisals for motels, saying it's the only method where enough documentation exists to support an appraisal figure.

Learning curve

Arledge is also a veteran of the Rockdale business community, with experience in his family's many business ventures, including real estate.

"I believe I've got something to 204526A01 contribute to the MCAD board and I'm excited about the opportunity, he said.

Ratliff feels the same way. "I know there's going to be a learning curve for me," she said. "I know this is going to be a challenge."

Taxing entities will actually vote on the MCAD board nominations in October and the votes will be counted in December.

Terms of the new MCAD board members begin Jan. 1.

Current MCAD directors are James Anderle, Emory Crump, Dr. Dee Ellis, Bill McCutchen and David Ogee.

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