Property Values On Rise Along With Protests

If you live in Smith County, you probably owe more property tax this year than last. That's because the cost of land and housing has gone up dramatically. If you want to protest the recent revaluation of your property you can go down to the Smith County Tax Appraisal District.

The Appraisal District has been busy this week. They're receiving 600 calls a day, and a steady stream of visitors. It's all because of a letter mailed out last Friday, saying the state ordered a review of property values, resulting in increases of 7% to 12%.

"It has been undervalued, yes. Almost without exception," says Michael Barnett with the Smith County Appraisal District. "That's the reason this district wide update is taking place. There are occasions when our data is bad data, we've made a mistake or, we don't have the correct square footage, or there's something about the house that we didn't understand. There's some other issue. That's when we really want to get your help to get that corrected."

So Barnett encourages people to do what Eddie Jacobs is doing. Bring your papers, and come talk to an appraiser about your property. "On some of them they did decrease value, and on others I had to leave just where they were," said Jacobs. "But, they were fair about it."

Every one I talked to today agreed with Jacobs, even when their values didn't go down. But JoAnn Flemming with the Tax Payers Association of Smith County is more concerned with the people who set the tax rates rather than the property values. "People need to pay attention to how local elected officials spend this money. And, we want them to be responsible with it, and to spend wisely, and to prioritize needs."

With low interest rates, high employment, and new expensive neighborhoods, property values are likely to continue to increase. And property owners are likely to continue to protest the changes.

If you would like to protest your property valuation, the Appraisal District says it helps to be prepared. So they have put together a web site to help you do just that. You can find it from the Know More on 7 icon on the home page. Just look for the Smith-CAD link. Smith-CAD has a map where you can check the property value of your home, your neighbors' homes, or any piece of land in the county.

You must file your protest by June 2nd.

Stephen Parr, reporting.