Williamson Central Appraisal District
Board of Directors Meeting
Jon Lux, Chairman, called the regular meeting of the Williamson Central Appraisal District Board of Directors to order Thursday, July 7, 2022, at 9:00 AM. Board members present; Jon Lux, Harry Gibbs, Lora Weber, Hope Hisle-Piper, and Larry Gaddes. Mason Moses was absent. Quorum declared.
Some of the District’s management staff were in attendance
Pledges of Allegiance
Receipt of Public Comments
Chrystle Swain, a member of the Appraisal Review Board (ARB), addressed the members. Swain expressed that the Coronavirus pandemic had interrupted her service as an ARB member. She indicated that neighboring counties had offered virtual options to its ARB members during the panic and that ARB bylaws, nor the Texas Property Tax Code, address the pandemic. Swain, who even though had missed two years of service due to the pandemic, requested that her pay level reflect the third year ARB pay.
Taxpayer Liaison Officer’s Report
Report on Property Owner Contacts
Charley Rouse, the District’s Taxpayer Liaison Officer (TLO), was present to report on the status of his contact with property owners.
2023 Budget Workshop
2023 Budget Review
Lankford introduced Debra Spellings & Leticia DeLaGarza with Benefits 360, the District’s insurance consultants. Spellings announced to the Board that although an increase in insurance rates was expected every year, this year was higher than anticipated.
Employee Health Insurance Presentation
Spellings informed the Board members that her office monitors the insurance benefit plan. She mentioned that when requesting proposals this year results were not as favorable as previously experienced. The District’s current provider, United Health Care (UHC), proposed a 27% increase. She mentioned that proposals were received from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, and Aetna as well. She indicated that the renewal with UHC was in line with the other renewals with the exception of Humana. Spellings indicated there to be no incentive to make a change to another carrier. She mentioned that, within UHC, there were additional options for the District. She reviewed the District’s current plan and discussed that currently District staff can choose from any in-network doctor. Spellings reviewed the three options.
The proposed plan would require employees to select a Primary Care Provider (PCP) to secure a referral prior to seeing a specialist. It was recommended that the benefits card be increased to $2,500 in order to cover the cost of the deductible. Lankford indicated that the Navigate plan would be the least impactful to staff and to the budget itself.
Spellings discussed the dental and vision insurance, as well as the short- and long-term disability packages. She mentioned that although Dental Select had quoted a lower price, the District would lose its packaged savings discount, and therefore it was not worth changing the dental carrier from United Health Care. She also discussed the vision insurance indicating that United Health Care had given a rate pass for the coming year.
Spellings mentioned that Sun Life administers the District’s short term disability plan and that they had offered a rate pass for the coming year. Long term disability was also discussed. This plan is underwritten by Lincoln Financial. Spellings indicated that this vendor had also offered no rate increase for the coming year.
Spellings expressed her recommendation to accept option three with United Health Care, the Navigate plan, for the District’s health insurance. She recommended increasing the Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) dollars to match the deductible of $2,500 and to renew the other insurances as presented.
Entity Budget Overview Meetings
Lankford informed the Board that he and Chris Connelly, the District’s Deputy Chief Appraiser, along with Kimberly Gamboa, the District’s Finance HR Manager, meet with the top twelve taxing units by levy amount. During these meetings, the District’s budget is reviewed along with other statistics, including the comparison to other Appraisal Districts and the District’s accuracy. Lankford expressed that other Appraisal Districts were experiencing similar staff shortages and were looking at increases to their budget to maintain staff. He also reviewed the update to the salary survey from other taxing units. He reported that taxing units were seeing increases as well. Lankford indicated this to be the year with the highest staff turnover and reported that a majority of those leaving were due to their pay. He indicated that the District’s morale is still high and reminded the Board of the Top Workplace award received by the District. Gibbs mentioned the fact that the pool of qualified workers has dwindled. Lux expressed the importance of qualified staff; indicating that the work of the District impacts the county as a whole.
Compensation Study Update
Lankford informed the Board that he was continuing to meet weekly with the previously mentioned Segal Group regarding a compensation study. This company had drafted a salary survey to which responses were beginning to be received. Lankford announced that he hoped for final results in early October, but he felt he would have enough information in late August to have preliminary numbers in time for the District’s final budget to be approved in September.
Gamboa reviewed the proposed changes to the District’s budget. It was announced that the insurance alternative one would amount to a $141,000 increase in the budget; whereas, $93,000 would be the difference if the Board chose alternative three, the Navigate plan.
Consider approval of minutes of the Board of Directors for the regular meeting – June 8, 2022
Weber made a motion to approve the June 8, 2022, minutes as presented. Hisle-Piper seconded. The motion carried.
Consideration of Monthly Financials
The May 2022 financials and expenditures were reviewed and filed for audit
Gibbs made a motion to approve medical health insurance option alternate three and continue with the remaining insurance providers. Also increase the benefits (Benny) card to $2,500. Weber seconded. Discussion followed. The motion carried.
Authorize Chief Appraiser to File Suit to Appeal the following ARB Orders: R055493, R086255, R066403, R355986, R413043, R413951, R528766, R468199, R321689, R577457, R577474, R604739, R606314
Weber moved to authorize the Chief Appraiser to file suit to appeal the ARB orders on the properties listed on today’s agenda with the exception of R309308. Hisle-Piper seconded. The motion carried
Chief Appraiser’s Report
Protest Season Update
Lankford displayed the protest season update. He announced that the District was seeing a twenty five percent increase in its protest levels and that staff rose to the occasion as usual. He indicated that the District was showing to be in line to certify timely. He announced that the District still had almost 15,000 protests remaining. Lankford expressed that District staff was doing an excellent job.
Lankford announced that he had conducted an interview with the Community Impact newspaper. The newspaper was gathering information regarding future growth in Williamson County and specifically in Hutto and Taylor. Lankford had informed the reporter that he did not see any indicators that property values will be dropping.
Property Owner Surveys
Lankford reviewed the District’s property owner surveys. He commended staff for job they were doing indicating the considerable number of positive comments. He announced that the survey comments were utilized for employee valuations.
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 Agenda Additions for Future Meeting
Lankford reminded the Board about the importance of their September 7th meeting; indicating that the final budget would need to be approved at this meeting.
There were no Board announcements.
The Board discussed the date for their next meeting. This date had been previously set for Wednesday, September 7, 2022 at 9 AM.
The regular meeting adjourned at 10:24 AM.
Jon Lux, Chairman Lora H. Weber, Secretary