Image: Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley living the good life (far right) with Precinct 2 Operations Manager Don Dean (far left) and Lieutenant Tim Holifield (center).
Montgomery County, April 24 – While Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley may have taken a political opportunity to supply the third vote in favor of the 20% County property tax homestead exemption on March 28, he soon followed that vote with swift action to take any monetary savings back from the taxpayers in his work as a member of the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Central Appraisal District (MCAD), the tax-setting authority that clearly works closely with County Judge Craig Doyal, Riley, and Riley’s fellow Board member Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador.
Riley voted against the 20% homestead exemption the first time that Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark brought the proposal before the Commissioners Court on February 28, 2017. The swift political backlash against Riley during the next four weeks forced Riley to change his vote at the March 28, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting. The proposal passed on a 4 to 1 vote, because, seeing the way the wind was blowing, Doyal also voted for the exemption. Meador held fast and voted against the tax relief.
Even Riley’s vote on the homestead exemption didn’t excuse the previous harm he’s caused County taxpayers. He’s reliably voted for every increase in County government spending that Doyal, Meador, and County Auditor Phyllis Martin have proposed. Riley is a major part of the reason that County spending increased 16.1% in Fiscal Year 2016 alone. Riley is one of the primary backers behind the $73 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 Decimation of Hope Highway project which County lawyer Rich Muller admitted during the April 11, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting would never garner voter approval ,if voters had the opportunity to vote on the massive toll road expenditure.
Riley was the author of the Woodlands Parkway Extension. He’s the primary backer behind the Branch Crossing Extension which will cut a major thoroughfare through quiet neighborhoods in Alden Bridge. If there’s a tax, a spending proposal, or a way to avoid citizen scrutiny over County government operations, Riley is “all in.”
Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that what Riley seemed to have given to County taxpayers on March 28, he swiftly has taken away through one of the most insidious of all governmental institutions within our locality: Riley’s MCAD. During the past two weeks, Montgomery County citizens have seen their livelihoods taken away through massive increases in their so-called “proposed valuations” of their homes, the primary method by which Riley, Doyal, Meador, and their ilk raises taxes to supply their giant government funding regime.
Three examples of Charlie taking back
Here are three examples of Charlie’s MCAD’s abuse. Of course, we don’t even need to mention how Charlie’s MCAD appraised his pal Craig Doyal’s brand new lakefront home at the land-only value of $110,000, until The Golden Hammer ran the story about it. Somehow, Charlie and his MCAD miraculously changed the value of Doyal’s home to $573,000 early the next morning after they got caught with their proverbial “pants down.”
Example #1: The “magnificent” mobile home
A working widow now owns the mobile home that her father purchased in 1976 for $15,100. It’s 600 square feet and in fairly bad condition. The roof doesn’t leak too much when it rains. In 2016, Charlie’s MCAD valued the trailer house at $3,430.
What’s Charlie’s MCAD’s “proposed valuation” for 2017? Hopefully, you’re sitting down for this one. Charlie’s MCAD is valuing the 41 year old trailer house at $16,330, 476% of the appraised value in 2016!!! Somehow, this trailer house has appreciated in value so that it’s worth more now than it was when this poor lady’s father purchased it over four decades ago.
Sorry, Charlie, but that’s called “stealing.”
Example #2: Walden on Lake Conroe as a group
The wonderful neighborhood of Walden on Lake Conroe has particularly taken Charlie’s MCAD’s proposed appraised values on the chin this year. For some reason, while Charlie’s pal Craig Doyal’s lakefront lot in Blue Heron Bay stayed valued at $110,000 (not counting the value of the improvements that, embarrassingly, MCAD finally added this past week), a huge number of landlocked homes in Walden have experienced an amazing change in their government valuation. The lots – as opposed to the improvements – have seen a 341.41% increase in their proposed valuations in one year!
Charlie’s 20% homestead exemption won’t do much in the face of a 341.41% tax increase.
Example #3: Greenridge Farms
Greenridge Farms is a quiet neighborhood of acreage homes built between 20 and 40 years ago. It’s northeast of downtown Cut and Shoot and east of F.M. 1484. Charlie’s MCAD went hog wild in that neighborhood. Around 321% is the minimum increase in proposed valuation that the appraisal district inflicted on these beleaguered taxpayers.
One Greenridge Farms taxpayer will actually suffer a 328% increase in his home valuation for his home built in 1950. A home built in 1976 down the street has seen a 327.33% increase in its valuation. A newer home built in 2004 also on the same street has suffered the same fate with a 331.26% increase in valuation.
Charlie Riley, the Tax Man, who taxes us as a Board member of the Appraisal District and who spends us out of house and home as a Commissioners Court member, giveth, but he then taketh away with a vengeance.