Williamson Central Appraisal District
Board of Directors Meeting
Charles Chadwell, Chairman, called the regular meeting of the Williamson Central Appraisal District Board of Directors to order Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 8:32 AM Board members present Charles Chadwell, Donald Hisle, Rufus Honeycutt, Jon Lux, and Larry Gaddes. Harry Gibbs was absent. Quorum declared.
Pledges of Allegiance
Chadwell welcomed new Board member, Jon Lux.
Oath of Office by Board Members
District Judge Betsy Lambeth administered the oath of office to the newly elected Board of Director members for 2020-2021; Charles Chadwell, Donald Hisle, Rufus Honeycutt, Jon Lux, and Larry Gaddes. The Judge addressed the Board members challenging them to listen and apply the law in order that property owners were respectfully and fairly treated.
Chad thanked Lux, who provided his background, for his willingness to serve on the Board.
Election of Officers
Hisle nominated Chadwell for Board Chairman. Honeycutt seconded. The motion carried. Gaddes expressed his appreciation to Chadwell for his past leadership on the Board. Hisle nominated Gibbs for Vice Chairman. Honeycutt seconded. The motion carried by acclamation. Honeycutt nominated Hisle for Board Secretary. Chadwell seconded. The motion carried by acclamation.
Receipt of Public Comments
Lankford introduced members of the District’s management team. He announced that Aaron Moore was the Director of Appraisal. He also mentioned K.C. McDade, who wasn’t present at the time, but was the Director of Operations and Jessica Miller, Assistant Director of Operations; Chris Connelly, Deputy Chief Appraiser; Victor Longstreth, the District’s Residential Appraisal Manager and Amy Urbanek, GIS/Mapping Manager. Lankford also introduced Charles Vasquez, CAMA/Analysis Supervisor and Jennifer Usmani who was assisting with ARB items. Aaron Stenulson, the Manager of the Land/Ag department and Kimberly Gamboa, the Business/HR Manager were introduced.
There were no other public comments. Gaddes announced that he would need to leave the meeting at 10:30 AM. Carol Frey, the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) Chairperson and James Dunham, the ARB Vice Chairman were introduced as well.
Employee of the Year Recognition
Lankford indicated that each year the District recognizes two employees for their contributions, and they are named employee of the year. He mentioned that one employee is chosen from the appraisal and appraisal support department.
Lankford announced that Amanda Rompala was named the employee of the year in the appraisal support department. He mentioned that Rompala, who had had an incredible impact creating outstanding maps, was relatively new to the appraisal district and worked in the Mapping department.
Lankford also recognized Dave Labenski as the appraisal employee of the year. He announced that Labenski, who volunteers regularly, was one of the District’s most efficient appraisers with very high scores on his property owner surveys.
Lankford informed the Board that a presentation would be included on the Board’s next agenda of a few of the new maps that had been created. He also offered a tour of the District’s building.
Taxpayer Liaison Officer’s Report
Appraisal Review Board Member Appointments
Charley Rouse, the District’s Taxpayer Liaison Officer, reported on the appointment of the Appraisal Review Board process with the Administrative Law Judge.
Rouse announced that the ARB appointments had been made by the Judge. He indicated that Carol Frey had been named the ARB Chair and David Hubbell the Secretary. Rouse mentioned that, due to a change in the law, the Administrative Law Judge now appoints these positions.
Gaddes inquired if there had been any changes during the legislative session that might affect ARB training. Lankford indicated that there is some additional training required in Senate Bill 2 (SB2). Roy Armstrong will provide this training.
Rouse also provided an update on the letter that had been sent regarding the possible removal of a member of the ARB. Rouse met with the Judge to discuss the procedures used and the Judge has placed this item on hold for now and will take steps if the issue continues.
Report on Property Owner Contacts
Rouse reported on the status of his contact with property owners. He indicated that not much activity had taken place since the Board’s last meeting.
Consider approval of minutes of the Board of Directors for the regular meeting – November 21, 2019.
Gaddes moved for approval of the minutes as presented. Hisle seconded. The motion carried.
Consideration of Monthly Financials
The October and November 2019 financials and expenditures were reviewed and filed for audit.
Investment Advisory Committee Appointment
Lankford announced that the District’s Investment Advisory Committee generally consists of himself, Kimberly Gamboa, the District’s Business/HR Manager and one Board member. Hisle is the current member on the committee.
Honeycutt moved to appoint the following individuals to the Investment Advisory Committee: Alvin Lankford, Kimberly Gamboa and Donald Hisle. Chadwell seconded. The motion carried.
Agricultural Advisory Committee
Lankford explained the purpose of the Agricultural Advisory Committee. He mentioned that this Committee is responsible for establishing agricultural values, they advise on agricultural expenses, and complete the Comptroller’s survey to help decide production values; arriving at what is typical for the area. This Committee meets twice a year unless there are additional issues to be discussed. It was announced that the same members that served previously were willing to serve again. Aaron Stenulson, the District’s Land/Ag Manager, was present and provided information regarding each member; he reviewed each member’s history.
Hisle moved to approve the listing of Agricultural Advisory Committee members as they were presented. Those members include; James Davidson, Gene Lawhon, Billy Carlson, Wilbert Vorwerk and Mark Prinz. Honeycutt seconded. The motion carried.
Lankford indicated that one of the requirements in SB2 included the necessity of the District providing a truth-in-taxation website. He mentioned that the estimate of taxes, which is currently included on the appraisal notice, would be removed in 2021 and this website would take its place providing this information. The District plans to mail a postcard in August informing property owners where they can locate their estimate of taxes. Lankford indicated that the District is still in the process of finalizing the website, which was displayed. Discussion followed on how the website would work. Lankford indicated that BIS, one of the District’s vendors, would create this website. Discussion followed.
Lankford announced that he would provide additional information to the Board members as it became available. No motion was made.
Foxy AI Approval
Lankford discussed Foxy AI, a vendor who provides artificial intelligence to decipher the quality level of a home for appraisal purposes. He indicated that this vendor would train their model with the District’s appraisal classing manuals and property images. He announced that the cost would be $2,500 to retrain their model and providing this data for the entire roll would cost under $20,000. Lankford indicated that the District would like to begin testing. He announced that once new neighborhoods are obtained in the future, there would be an annual maintenance fee. He indicated that choosing a class for each home is an opinion from an appraiser and this would make that opinion more consistent.
Hisle moved to approve the agreement with Foxy AI. Honeycutt seconded. This motion would provide for the initial $2,500 to train the model now; this item would be brought back to the Board for the remaining work. The motion carried.
The Board recessed the meeting at 10:00 AM and reconvened at 10:07 AM.
Lankford announced that the janitorial service item would be discussed at the February Board Meeting.
Town Hall Meeting
Lankford mentioned the Town Hall Meeting that had occurred in April of 2019. He indicated that another meeting was being planned for this year in the March time frame. Gaddes and Lankford had spoken with Senator John Bucy’s office and mentioned that the cafeteria had been reserved at Vista Ridge High School. It was announced that Bucy’s office would like to discuss SB2 specifically. It was decided that Monday, March 9th would be the best date for the Town Hall Meeting. The meeting will be scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM. Discussion followed.
No motion was made.
2108 TAAD Conference and Voting Delegate
Lankford announced that the 2020 Texas Association of Appraisal District’s (TAAD) Conference would take place February 23rd through February 26th in Dallas. He announced that a voting delegate would need to be named; this delegate would vote on the new slate of officers and the bylaws for TAAD. Lankford indicated that he had been the voting delegate for several years.
Honeycutt moved to appoint Lankford as the voting delegate for the 2020 TAAD Conference and Connelly as the alternate. Hisle seconded. The motion carried.
Hisle inquired about items during the TAAD Conference that would be beneficial for Board members. Lankford suggested members attend the Board forums. He also mentioned that any member attending only one day would most likely be asked to stay at an off-site hotel in order to allow additional staff members to attend.
Chief Appraiser’s Report
Lankford announced that a member of the Texas Association of Realtors had invited him to the Capitol to join a panel of legislative aids. They were asked questions about legislative bills; and specifically, Senate Bill 2. They wanted to know the impact of this bill on appraisal districts.
Lankford also mentioned the Orion User’s Group Meeting, where many Texas appraisal districts using Orion appraisal software come together to learn about how things are done here at this office. A list of improvement items is provided to Tyler Technologies, the District’s appraisal software provider, and they, in turn, create a development list.
Lankford indicated that members of the management team from the appraisal district in Fort Bend had met at the District’s office to learn more about how we do business. He expressed that our office has a lot of efficiencies that others in the business do not have.
Board of Directors Election Update
Lankford announced that there had been six nominees for the Board of Directors and that each of the returning Board members had been re-elected. He reminded the Board that they would need four members present to constitute a quorum. Larry clarified that he would serve as an ex-officio member; he does count towards the quorum.
Lawsuit, Arbitration and SOAH Reports
Lankford reviewed the lawsuit and arbitration reports. There were no State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) on which to report.
Board Training Retreat
Lankford informed the Board that Debbie Wheeler, who had previously provided training to the Board members, would be providing this training again. The Board discussed having this training as part of their regular meeting on March 12th.
The Board indicated that the updated member photos would be taken at the meeting on March 12th.
Gaddes left the meeting at 10:37 AM.
Board Agenda Additions for Future Meeting
Chadwell reminded members that items could also be added to the Board’s agenda by notifying himself, Lankford and Colleen McElroy, the District’s Administrative Assistant.
The Board discussed including the following items for future discussion:
• Town Hall Meeting
There were no Board announcements.
The Board discussed dates for their next regular meeting; this date will be set for Thursday, February 6, Thursday, February 13 or Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 9:00 AM. A survey will be provided to determine this date.
The meeting adjourned at 10:38 AM.
Charles Chadwell, Chairman Donald L. Hisle, Secretary