Conroe, August 6 – Lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and his henchman Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley are getting the job done in terms of raising County government spending as high as possible every year and raising property tax appraisals so that the amount of money they have available to spend is as much as they can confiscate from local taxpayers.
Several local realtors have approached The Golden Hammer, while requesting anonymity, to report that recent classes of the Texas Association of Realtors and other real estate sales groups are viewing with great alarm the fact that the growth rate of Montgomery County real estate sales seems to be in serious decline, particularly in comparison to other suburban communities such as Collin and Denton counties outside of Dallas and Williamson county outside of Austin.
Data from the Real Estate Research Institute of Texas A&M University bear out the cause for the concern. While the sales growth rate for the spring of 2018 was 7.5% over 2017, 2017’s growth rate was more than 50% higher at 11.2% over 2016. Similarly, real estate sales during the summer of 2018 have not grown at anything close to the sales boom occurring in Houston, Dallas, and suburban areas of those metropolises.
Realtors have heard and observed five common concerns from individuals contemplating the purchase of real estate in Montgomery County:
- People fear that the Central Appraisal District in Montgomery County has a reputation for raising tax appraised values so high that those values are far in excess of resale values. In particular, realtors have reported that there is a major increase in the number of real estate sales where the the tax appraisal values of the homes sold substantially exceeded the sale price. Under the direction of Riley and Commissioner Mike Meador, the Montgomery Central Appraisal District has undertaken an aggressive reappraisal policy to increase appraisals as quickly as possible in order to make more tax collections available to local governments where they’re increasing spending massively.
- High property taxes for which Montgomery County now has one of the worst reputations in all of Texas have instilled substantial fear in homebuyers. The Montgomery County government, especially the Commissioners Court, has taken no action whatsoever to restrain spending growth. Two weeks ago, under the leadership of Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, Doyal, and Riley, the Commissioners Court increased the County government spending amount to the highest level in the history of Montgomery County while giving themselves 3% raises!
- High water bills from municipalities and other entities, such as The Woodlands Township, that purchase water from the San Jacinto River Authority, which, through manipulation of the groundwater usage regulations of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, that restrict the use of groundwater by the owners of that groundwater, has created a government-initiated monopoly on the sale of water.
- Lake Conroe water levels. The San Jacinto River Authority has refused to undertake responsible management of the levels of the water in Lake Conroe above the Lake Conroe Dam in anticipation of the hurricane season. Last week, SJRA announced minimal controls of the water levels, but the river authority has refused to undertake the careful pre-releases of water that many reservoirs and lakes undergo in other parts of the United States before hurricane season. SJRA, at the urging of Doyal and Riley, has refused to lower lake water levels, because the SJRA, Doyal, and Riley are more interested in promoting tourism on Lake Conroe than in protecting lives and homes downstream.
- Montgomery County’s government corruption is known far and wide across the State of Texas as the worst in Texas. The Commissioners Court – Noack, Riley, Doyal, and Meador – are loving the flow of money into their campaign coffers from County vendors who want to do business with the County government while they’re looking the other way from conflicts of interest, nepotism, and other ethical lapses. Worse yet, those four are encouraging and promoting nepotism and conflicts of interest.