It is no secret that local property owners fed up with the operational corruption at the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District. Of course the real question is whether local and state representatives have the backbone to actually do something about it? I have detailed a number of the disgraceful behaviors taking place at the Fort Bend CAD, and how we are essentially wasting millions of dollars every year to support a rigged system. Each passing month seems to provide another data point that our local property tax system is nothing more than a giant sham disguised as uniform and equal appraisal.
I previously looked at the Fort Bend CAD’s preferential treatment toward commercial property owners, and I even detailed how the Fort Bend CAD absolutely caved when HEB sued FBCAD in district court. That one case provided a glaring example of how the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District listens to systemically important property owners, especially those with big accounts who show up with legal counsel at their side.
Courtesy of one of the members of our local protest group, we now have a look at the 2015 ARB (Appraisal Review Board) data from the Fort Bend CAD’s records. Just like we saw with the 2014 data, the Fort Bend ARB (the supposedly “independent” panel that actually receives compensation from the same county/board who also pays the chief appraiser) the 2015 data shows that the Fort Bend ARB provided 5 times the percentage discount to commercial property owners as compared to residential property owners.
The Fort Bend ARB’s disparate treatment of property owners looks even more appalling when you consider the reductions per account. In the spreadsheet I analyzed containing over 15,000 records heard at the ARB last year, the total dollar value of reductions provided by the ARB for commercial owners and apartment owners was more than double the total dollar value of reductions for over 14,000 residential accounts. That’s right. Fewer than 200 wealthy commercial property owners received twice the total value in reductions from the Fort Bend ARB as what was provided to more than 14,000 homeowners.
Looking at the 2015 Fort Bend ARB data, here are some of the key takeaways of the disparate impact/treatment taking place in Fort Bend County…
- Real commercial accounts received a total reduction of almost 15 percent
- Apartment owners received a total reduction of more than 10 percent
- Residential homeowners received a total reduction of 2.1 percent.
- The average homeowner saw an average notice value reduced by roughly $7,156
- The average apartment owner saw their notice value reduced by $2,189,140
- The average commercial owner saw their notice value reduced by $941,616