During council’s discussion on the matter, a lack of transparency and accountability kept coming up as the main reasons why they supported the move.
“As public officers and elected officials, we should always strive to hit the higher benchmark when it comes to transparency,” Council Member Ross McMullin said. “I think transparency would have helped a lot with the issues at the Tarrant Appraisal District.”
Mayor Armin Mizani echoed McMullin while he commented on the issues facing the TAD and how those issues are affecting Keller residents.
“In Keller, we’re unapologetic about protecting our taxpayers,” Mizani said. “Not only did we pledge to reduce the tax burden, but also we made a pledge to increase accountability and transparency at town hall, including the process in which we apportion our votes and select the individuals that make up the Tarrant appraisal board of directors.”
Board members are elected by taxing entities, such as cities and school districts, not taxpayers. Those entities can vote to begin a recall process of a board member but only if they initially voted for the member, Mizani said. He also stated the next step in the recall process would be sending the matter to a vote among other entities who voted for Wilemon.
Mizani cited a few of the issues the TAD had not handled well in the recent past, such as a surge in appraisal protests and a controversy involving a complaint filed against Chandler Crouch, a Realtor who helps taxpayers protest their property values.
“Is TAD today more accountable and transparent than it was two years ago?” Mizani said. “Do our taxpayers in Keller have more trust in the process? Are Keller taxpayers afforded a level playing field when protesting or representing others who protest their assessments? Can they do so without retaliation, as was the case with Chandler Crouch? The answer to those questions is flatly no.”
Crouch, who helps thousands of people protest their property taxes every year free of charge, was encouraged by council’s action.
“The words and actions of Mayor Mizani and the Keller City Council exemplify the qualities of true servant leadership that citizens expect from their government officials,” Crouch said. “Moving forward, I hope that TAD and the TAD board will adopt these same principles and approach problems proactively, showing sincere empathy for the impact of government on its citizens. This includes a deep commitment to accountability and transparency, which will help to prevent drastic measures like a recall in the future.”