News

4 new appraisal district directors get certification

Ratliff Ratliff There’s an 80 percent turnover in the board of directors of the Milam County Appraisal District (MCAD).

The MCAD certified results of the board election this week and four of the five directors will be new.

Two of the new directors are from Rockdale. Joan Ratliff and Tim Arledge were nominees of the Rockdale ISD.

Other new directors are Travis Yoakum of Milano and Charles Ellison of Cameron.

Outgoing directors are Dr. Dee Ellis and Emory Crump of Rockdale, Bill McCutchen and James Anderle of Cameron.

Only holdover is David Ogee of Thorndale.

RISD votes

Nomination by the Rockdale ISD is the equivalent of being elected to the five-member board which oversees the appraisal district’s operations.

Directors are elected by Milam County’s taxing jurisdictions whose votes are pro-rated based on their tax levies.

Arledge Arledge Rockdale ISD has 1709 votes. Only 834 are needed to elect a director.

In November, school trustees cast 834 votes each for Ratliff and Arledge and gave Ogee the district’s 41 “leftover” votes.

Controversy

The election of Ratliff is particularly noteworthy.

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 district’s appraisal review board (ARB).

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.

December meeting

MCAD directors met Thursday in Cameron and appointed Barkley Lagrone of Rockdale to the ARB, replacing Bentley Hause of Cameron.

Directors approved a resolution honoring Hause for his service to the ARB.

A. G. Hajovsky of Cameron was named an alternate ARB member.

Other ARB members are Robert Paulsen and Don Thompson.

In other business, directors continued to discuss changing the chief appraiser’s contract from multi-year to a year-by-year arrangement.


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2009-12-24 digital edition



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