Lamar County property owners can expect increasing appraisals if property values continue on an upward trend, as has been the case for several years.
Currently, local appraised values are 15% or more lower than market values determined by the Texas Comptroller’s Office with values increasing every year, according to Lamar County Chief Appraiser Jerry Patton.
As long as local property values remain below 95% of the comptrollers’ property value study, schools could lose funding. Texas Education Agency funds schools based on comptroller-assessed value while local districts collect taxes on property values based on Lamar County Appraisal District appraisals.
“That’s why we need to appraise property every year instead of every two years to keep up with increasing values,” Patton said last week. “We increased values 8% on properties we appraised this year — all the land in Lamar County and real property in Paris and Prairiland.”
Appraiser supervisor Leah Robertson said the district did not want to hit property owners all at once with a 15% increase to catch up with market values.
“It’s kind of like a Band-Aid: Do you want to rip it off all at once or do you want to take it a little bit at a time?” Robertson said. “With the 8% increase, we are trying to get a little closer and not rip it off all at once.”
Realtor Jim Bell agrees with Patton’s assessment of increasing values.
“Houses like in The Hills, Stone Ridge and Wellington Point have skyrocketed, and land values are increasing as well,” Bell said. “Will they stay up is anyone’s guess. Since 1971, I have seen multiple increases followed by decreases because economies go up and economies go down.”
Bell said the appraisal district will make adjustments if owners have proof their property is not worth the appraised value.
“I visited with appraisers just last week about five houses in the flood zone,” he said. “I went last year and didn’t have proof, but this year I had flood maps showing the properties and received an adjustment.”
Patton said he encourages property owners to come to the appraisal district office, 521 Bonham St., next week to visit with appraisers if they think their appraisals are too high.
“We do not go inside people’s homes when we do appraisals,” Patton explained. “So if someone thinks their house is not worth what it’s appraised for, they need to come talk to us about it.”
The appraisal review board is appointed by the appraisal district board to resolve disputes between taxpayers and the appraisal district. The board is a separate body with no role in day-to-day operations but has the authority to order the chief appraiser to change a value or correct appraisal records.
Appraisers are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 521 Bonham St. until the 5 p.m. deadline June 24 to submit an appeal to the appraisal review board. No appointment is necessary.