Galveston County Judge Mark Henry calls on governor to freeze property values at 2019 amounts

On May 5, Galveston County Judge Mark Henry asked Gov. Greg Abbott to use his disaster powers to freeze 2020 property appraisals at 2019 values for county taxpayers. (Courtesy Fotolia)
On May 5, Galveston County Judge Mark Henry asked Gov. Greg Abbott to use his disaster powers to freeze 2020 property appraisals at 2019 values for county taxpayers. (Courtesy Fotolia)

On May 5, Galveston County Judge Mark Henry asked Gov. Greg Abbott to use his disaster powers to freeze 2020 property appraisals at 2019 values for county taxpayers. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Galveston County Judge Mark Henry asked Gov. Greg Abbott on May 5 to use his disaster powers to freeze 2020 property appraisals at 2019 values for county taxpayers.

“I’ve requested Gov. Abbott freeze property assessments at the 2019 values so local families don’t get hit with an additional economic burden during this COVID-19 crisis," Henry said in a May 5 press release. "The 2020 assessments are based on values prior to this pandemic and the economic consequences that came with it. The right thing to do at this time would be to freeze values and reassess for next year when the economic impact can be taken into account.”

Last week, Henry sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in support of a request by Rep. Mayes Middleton, R-Wallisville, to freeze property values at 2019 amounts because of the potential lack of due process to contest appraisals. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas taxpayers are not allowed to contest their appraised property values in person this year. Contesting appraisals will take extra time and resources because of the outbreak, according to the release.

For the past eight years, Galveston County has cut its tax rate below the effective rate. The county was one of few in the state during the 2019 legislative session to support imposing revenue caps on local governments, and Henry said at the time that such a reform would not be enough to deliver real relief to Galveston County taxpayers, per the release.

“I’ve also sent letters to our local state representatives and senators requesting that they take up property tax appraisal reform in the upcoming legislative session," Henry said in the release. "[I'm] hopeful that our state leadership will recognize this issue and tackle it once and for all. Families all across Texas are in desperate need for property tax relief."


Galveston County property owners who want to contest their appraisals can contact the Galveston County Central Appraisal District at www.galvestoncad.org or 409-935-1980.
By Jake Magee

Editor, Bay Area & Pearland/Friendswood

Jake has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper. Today, he covers everything from aerospace to transportation to flood mitigation.