Conroe, September 19 – The Conroe Independent School District Board of Trusteess voted 5 to 2 against permitting reappraisals for flood-damaged homes of taxpayers within the jurisdiction of the Conroe Independent School District. The two board members who voted in favor of reappraisals and providing tax relief to flood victims were Board President Melanie Pryor Bush (who is also running for Montgomery County Treasurer as a reformer) and Board Secretary Ray Sanders. The vote occurred during the evening of Tuesday, September 19, 2017.
The reappraisals would have saved Conroe ISD taxpayers, who suffered flood damage, approximately $3 million, a tiny amount of money since the District has a $143 million surplus carryover from previous budget years. The floods arose during Tropical Storm Harvey and the actions of the San Jacinto River Authority to release the equivalent of an Astrodome of water from the Lake Conroe Dam approximately every 8 minutes without early warning to downstream neighborhoods and without attempts to pre-release water in order to attempt to mitigate downstream damage.
Close friends of Bush have disclosed to The Golden Hammer that Bush found the Board’s action appalling. Bush has not returned telephone calls.
The five board members who voted against providing tax relief to flood victims were Skeeter Hubert, John Husbands, Scott Kidd, Scott Moore, and Datren Williams. They took that disgusting and completely inexcusable action in reliance upon the District staff that incorrectly told them that there was no statutory authority for them to give such relief.
Texas Tax Code Section 23.02 provides:
(a) 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.
(b) If a taxing unit authorizes a reappraisal pursuant to this section, the appraisaloffice shall complete the reappraisal as soon as practicable. The appraisal office shall include on the appraisal records, in addition to other information required or authorized by law:
(1) the date of the disaster;
(2) the appraised value of the property after the disaster; and
(3) if the reappraisal is not authorized by all taxing units in which the property is located, an indication of the taxing units to which the reappraisal applies.
The 5 Board members and CISD staff truly should be ashamed of themselves. Bush and Sanders took the right action.
The Montgomery County government voted in favor of the reappraisals. Therefore, taxpayers who reside in the CISD will receive a reappraisal with respect to their County government tax bill but not the portion from the Conroe ISD.