In a stunning slap in the face to victims of Hurricane Harvey, Conroe Independent School District voted 5-2 to refuse relief for homeowners whose property was damaged by storm.
CISD President Melanie Bush had requested that the board look at reappraising the homes of families affected by Hurricane Harvey, which devastated much of southern and eastern Montgomery County.
“I requested this issue be placed on the agenda for discussion because we owe our taxpayers, whose property has been damaged by Hurricane Harvey, both fairness and compassion,” said Bush.
Rather than give affected district taxpayers relief from already outrageous appraisals during what is for many the most difficult time of their lives, the board was apparently more concerned with not losing revenue and voted against the proposal. Bush and Board Secretary Ray Sanders were the only two who voted in favor of reappraisals.
What is even more audacious is that the board absolutely refused to even have a discussion on the issue.
When the item was brought up, Board Vice-President Datren Williams moved to table it without even allowing discussion. Board Trustee Scott Kidd seconded the motion, which passed 5-2. Trustees Skeeter Hubert, John Husbands, Scott Moore also voted against discussing appraisal relief for Harvey victims.
Williams said that the board did not have the authority to call for the reappraisals, claiming it was a state function. However, Williams’ statement is false, and directly contradicts Sec. 23.03 of the Tax Code, which clearly states that, “the governing body of a taxing unit that is located partly or entirely inside an area declared to be a disaster area by the governor may authorize reappraisal of all property damaged in the disaster at its market value immediately after the disaster.”
Bush told the Texas Scorecard that she has confirmed with both State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), and State Rep. Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands) that state law allows CISD to reappraise. Bush has also pointed out that the district has a sizable rainy day fund for emergencies such as this.
The board has since faced severe backlash from the community, and there are already rumblings of potential electoral challenges to a number of members. Given the public outcry and the fact that the board’s vote was based on incorrect information, Bush hopes to revisit the topic at CISD’s October 17 meeting.