Boundary line mistake springs property tax increase on homeowners

Boundary line mistake springs property tax increase on homeowners

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Some southern Smith County residents are protesting recent changes to their property taxes. A mistake that was discovered almost two years ago is impacting residents now and homeowners are frustrated and feel like they're in the middle of a losing battle.

Before Nancy Madoux bought her home in 2009, she did a lot of research, but it's not doing her any good now.

"You go to your mailbox one day, you open a letter and you're in a different school district with increased taxes," she says.

The smith county appraisal district informed her that a mistake had been made and her taxes were going up, from the $1,837.20 she paid last year to $2,329.53, a $492.33 increase.

"When you're struggling for groceries to begin with, and there's very little money for living expenses, whatever the increase is, [that increase] will go further into that,"

She protested and was somewhat successful:  she'll still be paying about $180 more in taxes than she did before, but to get that, she had to agree to an $11,000 hit in her home's market value.

Trying to get his taxes back within his budget, Nancy's neighbor Randy, agreed to a lower market value, too.

"It's a no win situation. I've lost everywhere you can quantify it," says Randy Winn.

"Now I've lost from a net worth stand point, as far as the value of my home, and it's still costing me more to live in than when I bought it," he says.

The issue isn't just about an increase in property taxes, it's also about a change in school boundary lines. Until recently, the boundary between the Whitehouse and Tyler Independent School Districts was drawn right down the middle of Nancy's street. But, now it has moved and Nancy's home is in Tyler ISD.

Nancy thinks that will impact her resale value, right when she was hoping to be in a position to put her home back on the market.

Friday we did speak with the Smith County Appraisal District by phone. Chief appraiser Michael Barnett said, "The fact is, it was a mistake that was made. We've tried to make a correction and we have no authority to re-set the boundary line. That's the difficult part of this, is there's not a good fix. Occasionally this does happen. In this instance, the feeling was we needed to go forward and get this correction done."

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