Image: If you skirted property tax appraisal increases as these four leading liberals on the Conroe Independent School District’s Board of Trustees have, you’d be smiling too. Left to right: John Husbands, Stephen M. “Skeeter” Hubert, Scott Kidd, Datren Williams, and Superintendent Curtis Null.
Conroe, April 22 – For the four leading liberals who have pushed spending and debt on the Conroe Independent School District’s (CISD) Board of Trustees harder than anyone, life is mighty good. Since CISD controls the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Central Appraisal District (MCAD), which sets the policy for reappraisals of people’s homes, it’s no surprise that the four have enjoyed nice breaks from the increases in property tax appraisals, and thereby in property taxes, which the rest of the Montgomery County community has suffered.
Stephen M. “Skeeter” Hubert: Thanks to MCAD and CISD’s biggest vendor, life is good
The most interesting of the four leading liberals is Stephen M. “Skeeter” Hubert. Hubert’s home has maintained a property tax appraisal from MCAD at the same property tax valuation three years in a row, $397,900. Of course, Hubert’s portion of that is only one-half, $198,950, and that’s all on which Hubert suffers a property tax assessment.
When Hubert purchased his home from Nelda and Jim Blair, they financed the purchase for him but they also only conveyed a one-half undivided interest in the home to Hubert and his wife. In other words, Nelda and Jim Blair actually own one-half of Hubert’s house!
The Blairs have an interesting relationship with CISD. Their law firm Linebarger Goggan Blair is the largest CISD vendor, because they do all of the property tax collection work for the school district. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Blairs, who act as local counsel for the law firm, are very much in favor of the $807 million bond and want CISD to spend tax dollars as fast as possible.
Nevertheless, Hubert, who doesn’t deny the relationship, would seem to have a major conflict of interest every time he votes for CISD spending, bonds, or anything which costs taxpayers any money. The property tax collection lawyers, who benefit directly from every spending initiative, own half of Hubert’s house and hold the mortgage for the other half!
Datren Williams, the Board President, and man who will say and do anything to spend more money
Board President Datren Williams has been a fierce advocate for the CISD’s $807 million bond, which will raise CISD’s tax rate by 3 cents and will lead to massive property tax appraisal increases of more than sixty percent (60%) over the next ten (10) years, according to CISD. Williams, who lives in a plush home in The Woodlands, seems exempt from property tax appraisal increases.
Since 2015, Williams, unlike the rest of Montgomery County and CISD taxpayers, has actually enjoyed a reduction in his property tax appraisal amount. In 2015, Williams’ home had a property tax appraisal amount of $310,360. In 2019, however, Williams enjoys a property tax appraisal amount of $302,330, a 2.59% decrease.
Williams would have no problem raising the tax rate 3 cents, because, with the property tax appraisal decrease on his home, his property taxes will stay even.
John Husbands, angry liberal, gets the biggest break of all
John Husbands, a liberal, who seems angry nearly all of the time, actually has a lot about which he should be very happy. His property tax appraisal is $269,850 for 2019, which is actually a 5.5% decrease since 2017, when his home had a $285,290 property tax appraisal.
When Husbands voted to increase CISD’s tax rate by 3 cents from the $807 million bond, he would still pay lower taxes than he had in 2017, if the bond passes. Since the vast bulk of the tax increase from the CISD’s bond will come from property tax appraisal increases rather than the 3-cent tax rate increase, Husbands appears exempt from what the rest of the CISD taxpayer community will suffer.
Scott Kidd, the happy lawyer
As a taxpayer, Scott Kidd, the happy lawyer on the CISD Board, has every reason to be happy. In 2017, his home had an MCAD property tax appraisal of $546,820. In 2018, his home had the same appraisal.
Nevertheless, with the CISD’s less than 3% tax rate increase on the horizon, Kidd received a 3.4% decrease in his property tax appraisal for 2019 to $528,330.
In other words, when the rest of CISD taxpayers suffer a massive increase in property taxes from a 3 cent tax rate increase and a 5.73% property tax appraisal increase, as CISD’s Finance Office has projected for this year alone, Kidd will actually enjoy lower property taxes than he had previously.
How it works: CISD’s Board of Trustees controls MCAD’s Board of Directors
There is an election for the MCAD Board of Directors. Don’t worry, however, because as a regular citizen, you don’t have a vote.
Only taxing entities may vote for the MCAD Board of Directors, which sets reappraisal policy and controls the administration and operation of MCAD and its appraisers. The taxing entities receive a pro rata share of the votes in the MCAD Board election based upon the amount of taxes they charge to taxpayers.
Since CISD has by far the largest amount of tax collections, CISD has a controlling bloc of votes in MCAD Board elections and, therefore, controls reappraisal policy.
Don’t think for a minute, by the way, that the reason Kidd, Williams, Hubert, or Husbands have low property tax appraisals has anything whatsoever to do with the Harvey storm. This newspaper confirmed with the Montgomery County Engineer’s Office that none of their homes suffered any flooding from the storm.
Rather, their property tax appraisals, and lower property taxes, seem to emanate from their happiness from serving on CISD’s Board of Trustees.