Local officials within Tarrant County elect a board of directors to run the Tarrant Appraisal District (TAD), the local government entity that sets property values in the county. A local activist says TAD contributes to rising property tax bills and citizens must assert themselves in the upcoming election of the TAD board.
BestPlaces, a resource for market data, monitors the cost of living throughout the country and compares cities with the national average. According to the BestPlaces calculator, property taxes on a median home in Mansfield, a city in Tarrant, cost $6,880. In comparison, a median home in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C., will cost $5,170 in property taxes.
The officials in your local governments (city, county, school districts, etc.) decide your property tax bill by setting the rate at which to tax the taxable value of your home. Many local officials refuse to cut their tax rates deep enough to offset increases in appraised value, resulting in higher tax bills despite lowering property tax rates.
But before officials set the tax rates, local appraisal districts set the taxable value of your home, a process one former local official has said needs more transparency. The Republican-controlled Texas Legislature lauded their 2019 property tax reform, which set an election trigger for most cities and counties if they attempted to raise property tax revenues by more than 3.5 percent from the prior year. However, the 2019 act did not address the problem of rising appraisals or deliver property tax relief.
This year, the Legislature also refused to address what one citizen called the “corrupt” election system of appraisal boards. Currently, citizens do not directly elect the board members of their appraisal districts; local governments within the appraisal district nominate and elect candidates, with each local government having a certain percentage of the vote.
While citizens wait for state officials to deliver property tax relief, Chandler Crouch, a Tarrant County realtor and activist, is not waiting for the next legislative session to do something about his local appraisal district. Instead, he is encouraging citizens to activate themselves by contacting those in the county who do get to vote in the TAD board of directors election.
“As a citizen, I’m taking action, and I’m calling on you to take action. … I think collectively, together, we can make a big impact,” said Crouch in a recent video announcement of the election. Crouch’s website lists the email addresses of some key local government officials who will vote and encourages citizens to contact them immediately.
When Crouch last issued such a call to action in 2019, the grassroots rocked the typically insular TAD board election, installing three new members, two of which Crouch had previously interviewed.
Texans know property taxes are rising. However, until the Legislature delivers significant property tax relief statewide, it is more important than ever that local citizens participate in their local governments when it comes to property taxes.