Mayor Toby Powell has filed a class-action lawsuit against Montgomery County Chief Appraiser Tony Belinoski and Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae to “get some property tax relief for residents facing economic hardships amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a May 19 press release.
Powell said no city funds will be spent on the lawsuit, but as an elected official, he felt it was the only way to help Montgomery County citizens during this time.
“What we are asking for in this lawsuit is for the appraisal district to re-appraise all of the property in the county based on what has happened to our economy over the last few months, Powell said. “The people of this city and county are hurting and many of them simply will not be able to pay their taxes when they come due unless we do something about it now.”
Belinoski said in a released statement his office is concerned about the hardship Montgomery County residents are facing and has explored potential solutions with the Texas comptroller’s and governor’s offices.
“The conclusion reached by all was that any changes to the process would require legislative action. Therefore, a Chief Appraiser does not have the authority to change the mandated appraisal date,” Belinoski said.
McRae echoed Belinoski’s statement and criticized the “purely political” nature of Powell’s lawsuit.
“Mayor Powell should use his own power and influence to provide the City of Conroe taxpayers property tax relief by granting a homestead exemption and setting a tax rate that does not exceed or is lower than the no-new revenue rate,” McRae said. “This baseless lawsuit cannot legally provide property tax relief but unfortunately, Montgomery County taxpayers will bear the costs associated with the defense of it. “
Powell’s lawsuit comes after several Montgomery County residents criticized recent property value valuations.