Image: Conroe Independent School District Board of Trustees President Melanie Pryor Bush presided over a somber meeting of the District on October 17, 2017. The two ultra-liberal Board members, Datren Williams and Skeeter Hubert, were absent from the meeting.
Conroe, October 18 – After the Chairman of the Montgomery County Young Republicans, Jason Millsaps, who also happens to be State Representative Mark Keough’s Chief of Staff, read a resolution calling for tax reappraisals in the Conroe Independent School District of Harvey-flood-damaged homes, the CISD Board of Trustees must have found the “road to Damascus” and reversed their vote from the last meeting on the reappraisal issue. The Board, with ultra-liberal Datren Williams and Skeeter Hubert absent, voted 5 to 0 in favor of the reappraisals.
The entire tone of the meaning was more serious than the September meeting of the CISD Board. Don Stockton, CISD Superintendent, was more somber and respectful of the serious matters which the Board heard last evening. Several residents spoke about concerns arising from an incident involving racism at one of the CISD schools. Matt Beasley of The Woodlands provided a citizen comment with respect to his concerns about CISD bus transportation issues.
Millsaps read the Young Republicans resolution. He added that the reappraisals are “the right thing to do for our community for both business owners and homeowners. Nothing’s like kicking a man while he’s down by sending him a tax bill for a house he can’t live in.”
Millsaps further noted that the CISD has accumulated $166 million in its cash reserves. Later in the meeting, the CISD’s Chief Financial Officer Darren Rice actually admitted that the cash reserves have reached in excess of $175 million. “Those affected by the Harvey storm deserve some relief,” Millsaps concluded.
Rice explained to the Board that 2,278 properties within the CISD’s taxing jurisdiction suffered damage from Tropical Storm Harvey. Rice noted that the total tax savings to residents from reappraisals would be approximately $1.3 million or an average of $540 per household.
During the September Board meeting, Bush’s proposal to reappraise flood-damaged homes to provide tax relief lost on a 2 to 5 vote with Bush and Board member Ray Sanders as the only Board members to vote in favor of the flood relief. Bush later severely criticized her Board colleagues for their failure to support the measure.
On September 30, 2017, this newspaper published a story revealing the behind-the-scenes lobbying by Superintendent Stockton against even including property tax reappraisals for Harvey storm victims on the agenda. Please see “Secret Documents Reveal CISD Anti-Citizen Thugs Williams, Kidd, Hubert, Husbands, Stockton took aim at flood victims, taxpayers, fellow Board member Bush,” The Golden Hammer, September 30, 2017. The documents, which CISD only partially provided, revealed that Board member Datren Williams had planned to kill the reappraisal measure in advance and argued in public at the meeting that the CISD did not have the legal authority to allow the reappraisals, even though the CISD’s General Counsel had shared written information with the Board prior to that meeting that showed the Board could permit reappraisals.
The ultimate vote last night was unanimous in favor of giving flood relief to Harvey victims in the CISD taxing jurisdiction.