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 Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at 9:00 AM. Board members present; Jon Lux, Harry Gibbs, Lora Weber, Hope Hisle-Piper, and Mason Moses. Larry Gaddes attended virtually. Quorum declared.
Some of the District’s management staff were in attendance.
Pledges of Allegiance
Receipt of Public Comments
There were no public comments.
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. Rouse reviewed some of the calls he had received since the Board’s last meeting. He informed the Board that all issues had been resolved.
Hisle-Piper arrived at 9:06 AM.
Consultation with Attorney on Current Litigation
Sandy Griffin, the District’s attorney with the Perdue Brandon law firm, was present. Executive Session began at 9:06 AM. and ended at 10:15 AM. The Board recessed until 10:22 AM.
Consideration and possible action on items discussed in Executive Session
Consultation with Attorney on Current Litigation
No motion was made.
2023 Budget Workshop
2023 Budget Review
Lankford reviewed the budget calendar for 2023. He also reviewed some of the District’s general statistical information. He discussed the substantial increases in salary budgets that had been reported from the District’s taxing units. He reviewed the District’s organizational chart.
Lankford discussed employee salary and benefits information. The employee workload increase was reviewed as well. He explained how, through technology, the District has been getting less and less costly to its entities. He mentioned that the tax levy is increasing much faster than the District’s budget.
Lankford reviewed a comparison with other appraisal districts for cost and total levy as well as percentage of market value and cost per population.
He mentioned that the District was showing to be one of the least expensive on the list of comparable appraisal districts.
Lankford reviewed the changes to the District’s budget numbers. He mentioned the possibility of increasing the budget for the Taxpayer Liaison Officer (TLO), indicating that since the Board has historically given an increase to the TLO, they may consider including an increase in this budget category for 2023. Lux requested that the budget be revised to include a ten percent increase for the TLO.
Lankford discussed the sketch validation change detection project. He indicated that he would prefer to buy down the budget by using reserve monies, at a later time, to help pay for this service.
The Appraisal Review Board (ARB) budget was discussed; Lankford indicated that this budget had been reviewed the with ARB’s Chairperson, Carol Frey. He informed the members that he had misspoke at their last meeting and there would actually be no charge for the required training for the ARB. The Comptroller provides this training. Lankford mentioned that he would prefer to leave the budget amount for the ARB attorney item.
Frey addressed the Board indicating that she had adjusted the ARB contract labor budget numbers. She discussed the ARB training indicating that with this training being provided online, ARB members do not have as much of an opportunity to ask questions. She also indicated that she had based the ARB labor numbers on a total of 70 days of work, which was on the high end. Lankford reminded the Board that the ARB days would be tapered this year.
Lankford reviewed the budget revenue tab as well as the assigned obligated funds. He announced that any monies unspent from the prior year are required to be refunded to the entities/used to buy down the budget or we must move them into the reserve funds. He indicated that historically the Board has used these to buy down the budget.
Lankford reviewed the proposed final budget numbers. He indicated that the financials are showing an estimated $400,000 remaining and that he would recommend the District buy down the budget by $300,000 and place the remaining $100,000 into the District reserve account to eventually utilize for sketch validation. Lankford indicated that the audit should be complete in the coming months. He announced the new total budget amount, when including the increase for the TLO, was showing to be $11,434,100.
Lankford acknowledged the substantial increase in the District’s budget amount but reminded the Board that the District’s entities were seeing the same type of increases. Lux mentioned the outside market analysis that had been conducted and felt the amount was reasonable. Gibbs discussed the District’s building reserve account and pointed out the monies that had been utilized from this account in the past year. Lankford indicated that he would recommend moving monies into this reserve account.
Compensation Study Update
Lankford reminded the Board of the compensation study that was being conducted. He felt that, based on what has been seen in the market, the District’s salary number would still be low after seeing the results of the study.
He mentioned that the study should be final in time for the Board’s September meeting, but that he felt the District would be seeing another salary increase in 2024. He announced that he hoped not to increase the budget number from the June to the September Board Meeting, when the budget is finalized.
Lankford informed the Board that the status of the study is reviewed at a weekly meeting with the Segal Company. He displayed the latest salary survey results of the comparable appraisal districts and the District’s entities. He reminded the Board that salaries are moving fast for technical jobs and that the cost of living had increased dramatically in the area versus other areas in the state. Lankford discussed cost of living versus cost of labor. The cost of labor compares what employers are paying in any particular area in relation to the District. He announced that this was being discussed further.
Entity Budget Overview Meetings
Lankford announced that the Entity Budget Overview Meetings generally take place directly following the Board’s approval of the proposed budget. He indicated that he, Chris Connelly, the District’s Deputy Chief Appraiser, and Kimberly Gamboa, the District’s Finance/HR Manager, visit the District’s top twelve entities based on their contribution to the District’s budget. The smaller taxing units receive the same information which is mailed to them. Lankford announced that these meetings would be scheduled soon.
Consider approval of minutes of the Board of Directors for the regular meeting – March 23, 2022.
Moses made a motion to approve the May 23, 2022, minutes as presented. Hisle-Piper seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Approval of Proposed 2023 Budget
Lankford reminded the members of the total budget amount of $11,734,100 and indicated that although the District had proposed a two, three, four and five percent increase, he would recommend approving a four percent merit increase.
Moses moved to approve the 2023 Williamson Central Appraisal District proposed budget in the amount of $11,734,100 to include a four percent merit increase. Gibbs seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Chief Appraiser’s Report
Protest Season Update
Lankford displayed the District’s property protest numbers and announced these numbers to be the highest the District had seen to date. The total number was showing to be 78,698. Lankford explained the homestead cap adjustment.
Property Owner Surveys
Lankford reviewed the District’s property owner surveys which, he announced, were still looking particularly good. He indicated a total number returned of around 1,300 and announced that these were handed out as property owners entered the District’s office. Lankford reviewed the scores. He also mentioned the numerous Google five-star reviews the District had received. He gave credit to District staff for the excellent job working with customers.
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. He expressed his appreciation to Connelly and the litigation team for the excellent job they had been doing.
Tyler Excellence Award
Lankford announced that the District had, along with Montgomery and Fort Bend appraisal districts, applied for the Tyler Excellence Award. He indicated that the District had won the award for its property owner portal and informed the Board that these three appraisal districts had worked on automating this portal this year.
Lankford announced that this award would be displayed in the District’s lobby. He mentioned how proud he was of, not only the District’s staff for their achievements, but the other two appraisal districts for their participation as well.
Board Agenda Additions for Future Meeting
There were no items discussed for future Board meetings.
Lankford reminded the Board that the District had created an email account for each of them to utilize and that the previous Board email accounts would need to be deactivated. He also discussed the Board’s signature footer which would be added to any of the Board’s email correspondence containing official public business. There were no other Board announcements.
The Board discussed the date for the July Board Meeting. This date had been set for Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 9 AM. Lankford also expressed the importance of the Board’s final budget approval meeting scheduled for September 7th.
The regular meeting adjourned at 11:21 AM.
Jon Lux, Chairman Lora H. Weber, Secretary