The Bandera Bulletin

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Appraisal district budget draws criticism

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 12:00 pm

The board of directors of the Bandera County Central Appraisal District is expected to take another look at its 2020 budget after it drew strong criticism from the public and Bandera County commissioners last week over plans to hike revenues by 25 percent.

Conrad Striegl, a county resident who was one of those commenting about the district’s spending plan at Commissioner’s Court meeting on Thursday, Aug. 8, called the budget “unacceptable,” while Commissioner Jody Rutherford said it suggested that management processes at the appraisal district are “out of control.”

The $1.4 million budget approved last month by the appraisal district board contained $185,000 in startup or “seed” funding for the completion of new or renovated offices for the appraisal district, which says it has outgrown its current facility at 1206 Main St. in Bandera.

That expenditure drew much of the criticism and was seen as excessive and even unnecessary.

County Judge Richard Evans said he was disappointed that the directors approved that amount for building upgrades because he had urged them to plan for the improvements in a way that would not require such a big allocation in one year.

“That’s not seed money.  That’s a half-grown tree,” the judge said about the money allocated for the headquarters upgrade.

Commissioners, with Rutherford voting “no,” accepted the budget as part of the appraisal district’s report on the county’s tax roll for 2020.  But Evans said commissioners may still call on the board of directors to reevaluate the budget and come back with a more reasonable plan.

Andy Lautzenheiser, president of the Medina Independent School District board of trustees, echoed those sentiments in his comments to the court.

He said the school district already is being hammered by the state through the new education funding formula and is struggling to come up withr more than $100,000 to cover much-needed teacher raises that state assistance will not pay for this year.

Medina ISD expects its bill from the appraisal district to be close to $25,000 more because of the money set aside for building improvements at the district.  Lautzenheiser said with the other financial demands its facing, the board cannot afford that expense this year.

He said Medina trustees have been in contact with appraisal district board members, and Lautzenheiser hopes the board will consider budgetary revisions that offer aid to the district.

“Whatever they reduce it, it would definitely help us,” the board president said.

Wendy M. Grams, the appraisal district’s chief appraiser, said on Monday, Aug. 12, that comments she had received from board members indicated that they would reconsider the spending plan at their next meeting to see if modifications are possible.

She said the district’s current office not only has space and parking issues, it has building problems that need to be addressed.  The new budget created an opportunity for the board to develop a plan for those upgrades, but she said the amount of money allocated to that initiative was the board’s choice.

The board now has an opportunity to reexamine that choice, but when it will meet to do so was unclear this week.  Grams said the board does not normally meet in August, and no date had been set for its meeting in September.

The nine entities that the appraisal district develops tax rolls for provide the funding for its budget based on how large each of their taxable values are.  The Bandera Independent School District would be the largest financier of the $1.4 million already approved for the district, with Bandera County contributing the second highest portion and Medina ISD in third.

If all $185,000 of the seed money were removed from the budget, the spending plan would still grow by about 8 percent, which would be a more normal increase, Grams said.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • Jimbo posted at 6:53 pm on Wed, Aug 14, 2019.

    Jimbo Posts: 47

    It's not just the appraisal district that is out of control. The county and ISD's continue to dig deeper into our pockets to fund their largess.

    I strongly advise all citizens to check out the Bandera County Proposed Budget 2019-2020.

    On page 2 it states, "This budget will raise more revenue from property taxes than last years budget by $494,077, which is a 3.49% increase from last years budget. The property tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll is $289,882."

    That is a lot of money coming out of YOUR pockets!

    James Westover


  • Grimes Funeral Chapel

    • icon posted: June 23
More Display Ads