On May 4, many Texans will have their first opportunity to elect representatives to the governing boards of their local appraisal districts, making the agencies that assess property values for tax purposes more accountable to citizens.

A new property tax relief law, passed last year and approved in November by voters statewide, included a provision for voters in counties with a population of 75,000 or more to elect three new members to their county appraisal district board of directors.

The three elected board members will serve alongside the five appointed directors and the county tax assessor-collector, who will become an ex-officio board member.

Directors elected in May will take office on July 1 and serve a term that expires on December 31, 2026.

Going forward, elected appraisal district directors will be on the ballot in November of even-numbered years and serve staggered four-year terms.

The five directors appointed by local taxing units (counties, cities, school districts) that participate in the appraisal district will also transition to staggered four-year terms, starting in 2025.

Property tax consultant Chandler Crouch, who has championed appraisal district reforms for years, told Texas Scorecard, “I believe the legislation that implemented these changes is a direct result of the trouble I’ve experienced and would not have happened if it weren’t for concerned Texans demanding change.”

Crouch was targeted by his local Tarrant County appraisal district officials after helping thousands of residents protest their property taxes and calling attention to problems within the system.

In the wake of several scandals, longtime Tarrant Appraisal District Chief Appraiser Jeff Law resigned last September.

“Over the past few years I’ve seen plenty of corruption at the appraisal district. I believe the problems I encountered would have been dealt with much quicker if we had someone at the appraisal district that was directly accountable to the taxpayers,” said Crouch.

In addition to adding elected appraisal district directors in the state’s 50 largest counties, the new law puts the directors in charge of appointing members to the appraisal review board.

The appraisal review board (ARB) is the group of citizens that hears taxpayer protests and resolves disputes between property owners and appraisal districts. Currently, ARB members are appointed by the county’s local administrative judge.

At least two members of the majority voting for ARB members must be elected directors.

“Thankfully now, we will not only have three taxpayer representatives on the board, but our representatives will have additional authority to appoint the people that decide our protest hearings,” said Crouch.

Early voting for appraisal district directors is April 22-30. Election Day is Saturday, May 4.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.