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, June 8, 2023, 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
Lankford read aloud a letter that Gaddes had received regarding a taxpayer’s experience. This letter was very complimentary of District staff members.
Taxpayer Liaison Officer’s Report
Report on Property Owner Contacts
Glenda Williams, the District’s Taxpayer Liaison Officer (TLO), was present to report on the status of her contact with property owners. She reviewed the calls she had received indicating that a lot of her calls are in regard to educating the public.
Lankford commented on what a great job Williams does of chronicling these calls. He inquired with the Board if they would be interested in Williams sharing her monthly list with them. She will continue reporting as she has been.
Texas County & District Retirement Systems Presentation
Tim Krause, with Texas County & District Retirement Systems (TCDRS), was present to discuss the District’s retirement program. He reviewed the retirement plan.
Krause discussed the employee deposit rate allowing employees to contribute seven percent into their retirement account. The employer match can only be paid out when the employee retires. Krause announced that about twenty five percent of those who participate in the plan retire with this plan. He reviewed the retirement eligibility (which is set by the Board). Vesting guarantees the lifetime monthly benefit with the employer match.
Krause indicated that the Board could make changes to this plan. He discussed the unfunded liability and indicated that, since 2015, the Board had authorized to pay more than what was required. Lankford reminded the Board that they had worked to try to pay the higher elected rate and made some lump sum contributions.
Krause also discussed the possibility of the Board authorizing a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retirees. A few options for this increase were displayed. Krause discussed the costs for the different options. It was indicated that this was looked into due to inflation rates. Lankford mentioned that this funding would need to come from the District’s reserve accounts.
The deadline of December 15th was discussed for plan changes. The Board asked that this item be included on their July Board meeting agenda.
Consider approval of minutes of the Board of Directors for the regular meeting – May 4, 2023.
Weber made a motion to approve the May 4, 2023 minutes as presented. Gibbs seconded. The motion carried.
Consideration of Monthly Financials
The April 2023 financials and expenditures were reviewed and filed for audit.
Texas County & District Retirement System
Lankford mentioned that, during his presentation earlier in the meeting, Tim Krause with TCDRS had presented the 19% retirement contribution rate. This is also the amount that was placed in the District’s budget. He reminded the members that they had until December to make this decision.
Assigned Obligated Funds
Lankford indicated that, once the District’s financial audit is complete, he would be requesting to place unobligated funds into the building reserve account. No action was taken.
Approval of Proposed 2024 Budget
Weber made a motion to approve the 2024 Williamson Central Appraisal District proposed budget in the amount of $12,808,800 to include a 4% merit increase and 2% cost-of-living adjustment. Hisle-Piper seconded. The motion carried.
Capitol Appraisal Group Contract
Lankford reminded the Board that Capitol Appraisal Group (CAG) is the firm the District uses for valuing its complex business personal property accounts, utilities, mineral accounts, and manufacturing. He indicated that the District would also task them with valuing Samsung business personal property when the time comes. Lankford announced that the contract being presented was for the years 2024 and 2025. And that CAG was proposing a 7% increase for 2024, and an additional 2% for 2025. He indicated there to be no other changes to the contract and that new accounts would be added as needed.
Hisle-Piper moved to approve the Capitol Appraisal Group Contract for 2024-2025 as presented. For the year 2024, the fee is $83,000 and for the year 2025, the fee is $84,660. Weber seconded. The motion carried.
Chief Appraiser’s Report
Protest Season Update
Lankford announced May 15th to be the appraisal protest deadline and that values had gone down 11-12%. He also mentioned that property owner protests were showing to be down 38%, and that property tax agents have picked up the delta. He expected no issues with certifying timely.
Lankford announced a few presentations that he had done recently. He presented to the County Commissioners giving a valuation update. He was proud to say Commissioners were letting the public know that the District is doing its job appropriately.
Lankford also presented at the Round Rock City Council meeting. Attendees were appreciative of the data received and very complimentary of District staff.
Lankford reviewed a few legislative bills.
House Bill 796 – this bill requires the District to include a link to a database which includes information on protest hearings and Appraisal Review Board results. Lankford mentioned that eventually the database would include a 5-year history.
House Bill 1285 – this bill pertains to training and a few additional duties for the Taxpayer Liaison Officer.
House Bill 3273 – this bill removes the requirement to mail a postcard to each property owner. A link to the property tax database would need to be included on the District’s website as well as on the notice of appraised value.
Senate Bill 348 – this bill allows the Appraisal District to include on its website sketches of improvements, aerial photos, and street level imagery. This has an effective date of 9/1/23.
Senate Bill 361 – this bill would allow teachers to serve on the Appraisal Review Board.
Senate Bill 1801 – this bill requires the District to periodically confirm that recipients of homestead exemptions qualify for those exemptions. Lankford reminded the Board that True Roll was the District’s audit firm for these exemptions. This will be a requirement at least once every five years.
Lankford announced that a special session was being called by the Governor. The House and the Senate passed their proposed bills and then adjourned. He indicated that he would know more once the special session was finalized.
Lankford also discussed proposed legislation that would most likely need to be discussed again in the future. The proposal would allow for damaged property associated with an individual disaster to have a prorated exemption based on the date of the disaster.
True Roll Return on Investment
Lankford reminded the Board that True Roll was the District’s homestead exemption auditing firm. This company has a number of information sources used to compare against the information in the District’s system to determine those that may be fraudulent. Lankford reported that 285 letters were mailed for a total of $340,450 in additional taxes to be paid. He also indicated that seventy-one letters were mailed with a total of $229,580 in additional taxes paid for over 65 and disabled person frozen accounts. The contracted price per year for True Roll is $78,000. This contract ends in March of 2025.
Property Owner Surveys
Lankford informed the Board that the District was still in the process of formatting the property owner surveys, but that the results were very positive. He announced having over a 99% satisfaction rating on promptness. Lankford reviewed the scores. He indicated that a large number of people this year are wondering why their market value went down and their assessed value went up. Lankford indicated that the District plans to provide additional advertising to explain the assessed value.
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 pointed out that the May Lawsuit Report had shown a 0% reduction in lawsuits. And that approximately 62 of these lawsuits are getting ready to be closed. He announced that having additional assistance with these lawsuits has really been helpful.
Lankford announced that typically the District has around 60 lawsuits closed per year; and that we had already had 72 closed with only being halfway through the year. He indicated that Appraisal Districts the size of WCAD typically have staff dedicated specifically to litigation. Lankford indicated that, in the future, the District would most likely need at least one full-time appraiser dedicated to litigation.
Jon Lux, Chairman Lora H. Weber, Secretary