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, May 23, 2022, at 9:30 AM. Board members present; Jon Lux, Lora Weber, Hope Hisle-Piper, Mason Moses, and Larry Gaddes. Harry Gibbs was absent. Quorum declared.
Some of the District’s management staff attended the meeting.
Pledges of Allegiance
Receipt of Public Comments
There were no public comments.
Texas County & District Retirement Systems Presentation
Amy Campbell, with Texas County & District Retirement Systems (TCDRS), was present. Campbell reviewed the District’s retirement plan. She mentioned that District employees have a deposit rate of 7%, this is pre-taxed money sent to TCDRS. The current match at retirement for every dollar earned is 250%.
Campbell discussed eligibility requirements for retirement. She mentioned the two types of cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) available; a flat rate which gives every retiree the same percentage and a Consumer Price Index based rate. She reminded the members that COLA’s are not required, but that the Board can consider adjustments each year. Lankford announced that historically the Board has considered a COLA every three years. Campbell indicated that there are two ways to fund a COLA, it can be amortized, or the District can pay in extra contributions.
Campbell announced that funding for 2021 returns was above 20%; she explained how the District’s rate is determined. The rate for 2023 is 17.94% of the District’s payroll. She announced that the District had elected a higher rate of 19%. Campbell went on to explain that the elected rates offset any negative plan experience and indicated that plan rate decisions are due by December each year.
Campbell announced that TCDRS has an abundance of education available to its members, including one-on-one counseling as well as webinars for employees. She also indicated that the plan is portable with other TCDRS companies. Lankford announced that TCDRS meets with staff annually.
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. He indicated that all current issues had been resolved. Rouse expounded on a few of the property owner calls he had received and expressed his appreciation of the support received by District staff.
2023 Budget Workshop
Lankford informed the members that he had been meeting with the company doing the District’s compensation study. He discussed the process used by the Segal Company (Segal) and indicated that midpoint salary ranges were received on a number of the District’s positions. Lankford reminded the Board that the District’s budget would need to be sent to the taxing units in June; however, the final study wouldn’t be received until sometime in August. He announced that he was attempting to provide an estimate for the entities and indicated that the Board’s policy has typically been to not increase the budget number from the June meeting to the final provided in September.
Lankford announced that there were approximately twenty-two positions that were lacking information at this time but indicated that it appeared there would be an increase in the salary budget by about 13%. He explained that Segal had provided some preliminary estimates on the remaining positions and the proposed budget includes adjustments based on these preliminary estimates. Lankford mentioned that he had also been reviewing salary merit increases and that most of the District’s entities received thus far are giving a 3-4% merit increase.
Lankford announced that thirteen staff members had left employment at the District in the last year, which has been the highest turnover he had seen. He reminded the members that this was amid receiving the Top Workplace award and therefore he felt was not a morale issue. Lankford announced that the District still had six vacant positions going into its busiest time of year. He announced that two applicants in the past week had turned down positions due to salary. He reviewed the onboarding soft costs and the fact that the cost of living in the area has risen dramatically. He indicated that employees are leaving due to salaries and that with this increased workload on others, morale is starting to suffer. Lankford expressed his concern with losing skilled staff. He announced that some employers and local government are providing mid-year raises across the board. Discussion followed.
Lankford reviewed the proposed budget with the Board. He also reviewed how the merit increases, which are based on employee performance, work. He also explained sketch validation and indicated that there may be a chance that the District could use a reserve account for this purpose and therefore remove this item from of the budget.
Lankford indicated that the raise that the Board had previously awarded the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) was included in this budget. He did not anticipate the ARB utilizing all 70 days this year because of the step scheduling that had previously been discussed.
Lankford announced that the District had estimated over $500,000 in unused funds from 2021; this number will be final after the District’s audit is conducted. He mentioned his wishes to utilize these funds to replenish the building reserve (at least $200,000) and use the possible remaining $200,000 to buy the budget down.
Lankford announced that one entity had inquired about the increase in the District’s budget. He had provided an estimate of 15%, which would be the largest he had ever requested; however, it is the reality this year. He reminded the members that the top twelve taxing units, by levy, are visited annually where a thorough review of the budget is conducted. The remaining taxing units are provided a copy of the budget as well.
Building Short Lived Items
Lankford announced that the District keeps reserve accounts for replacement of building items that need to be replaced over time. He indicated that two of the District’s air conditioning units were at the end of their life and in need of replacing. He announced that specific information would be provided at a future meeting.
Major Equipment Replacement Items
Lankford also announced that it was time to replace the District’s WiFi access points. The total for this purchase was around $2,500. He indicated that at a future meeting this would be discussed further.
Lankford announced that by June 14th, the approved proposed budget would need to be provided to the taxing units.
Consent / Possible Action Items
The consent agenda includes non-controversial and routine items that the Board may act on with one single vote. Any Board member may pull any item from the consent agenda in order that the Board discuss and act upon it individually as part of the regular agenda.
Consent Agenda Items:
Approval of Minutes of the Board of Directors for the regular meeting – April 27, 2022
Quarterly Investment Report
Quarterly Taxing Unit Payments
Moses moved to approve the consent agenda as presented, Items VII. A-D. Hisle-Piper seconded. The motion carried.
Building Short Lived Items
It was indicated that this item would be discussed further at a future meeting. There was no motion made.
Major Equipment Replacement Items
It was indicated that this item would also be discussed further at a future meeting. There was no motion made.
Board of Directors Policy Revision
Lankford reviewed one change requested to the Board of Directors Policy.
Moses moved to accept the revision to the Board of Directors Policy including verbiage “whether current or former personnel” regarding personnel involuntarily becoming a Defendant in any civil or criminal litigation brought against them pursuant to the performance of their official duties. Weber seconded. Moses amended the motion to include the fact that this was resolution 2022-03. Weber seconded the amendment. The motion carried.
Chief Appraiser’s Report
Lankford spoke of a number of presentations he had done since the Board’s last meeting. He mentioned a presentation with the Ft. Worth Star, as well as explaining commercial valuation at the Commercial Property Information Exchange Meeting. He had also presented, with Gaddes, for Coldwell Banker. They explained the work of their two difference offices.
Lankford had met, along with the Chief Appraiser from Travis County, with local legislators at the Capitol, where they reviewed value increases and what they were seeing in the area. He also mentioned the annual value presentation for the Williamson County Commissioner’s that Chris Connelly, the District’s Deputy Chief Appraiser, had done an excellent job conducting.
Lankford mentioned a podcast he was part of for Lean In Leander. He had discussed value increases for this audience. Gaddes announced that he had been requested by radio station, KLBJ, to provide his expertise.
Lankford announced he also had a presentation scheduled for the morning with the City of Round Rock.
Property Owner Surveys
Lankford announced that the scores showing on the District’s Property Owner Surveys were the highest he had seen yet. He recognized Johnny Robins, the District’s Assistant Director of Appraisal, for the employee training he had provided. He informed the Board that staff members are provided their individual scores and comments and indicated that if management notes any repetitive issues these are addressed with each individual staff member
Lawsuit, Arbitration and SOAH Reports
Lankford reviewed the lawsuit reports. There were no arbitration or State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) on which to report. Lankford announced that new lawsuits would begin arriving in the coming months
Board Member Email Addresses
Lankford reminded the Board about utilizing their new appraisal district email addresses which were mentioned at the previous meeting. These were mainly provided for retention purposes required by the Public Information Act.
Lankford also discussed an email footer that the Board would be noticing on correspondence. This footer warns against replying to all recipients which could lead to violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act.
2022 WCAD Christmas Party
Lankford announced that the District’s 2022 Christmas Party would take place at Kalahari Resort again this year. This event is scheduled for Friday, December 2nd. Lankford asked that the members mark their calendars and hoped they could attend. He announced that this was also an opportunity to thank the Board of Directors for all they do for the District.
Board Agenda Additions for Future Meeting
There were no items discussed for future Board meetings.
Lankford mentioned a letter each 2021 Board member should have received from the District’s auditor. There were no other Board announcements.
The Board discussed the date for the July Board Meeting. This date was set for Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 9 AM.
The regular meeting adjourned at 11:28 AM.
Jon Lux, Chairman Lora H. Weber, Secretary