Montgomery County commissioners criticize Conroe Mayor Powell's lawsuit against tax officials

Montgomery County commissioners criticized the lawsuit between Conroe Mayor Toby Powell and two tax officials of the county. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Montgomery County commissioners criticized the lawsuit between Conroe Mayor Toby Powell and two tax officials of the county. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Montgomery County commissioners criticized the lawsuit between Conroe Mayor Toby Powell and two tax officials of the county. (Courtesy Fotolia)

The Montgomery County commissioners criticized the ongoing lawsuit between Conroe Mayor Toby Powell and two tax officials at their meeting May 26.



The commissioners consulted with the county attorney during an executive session about the lawsuit between Powell and Chief Appraiser Tony Belinoski and Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae. Powell said in a statement May 19 he is suing to “get some property tax relief for residents facing economic hardships amid the COVID-19 pandemic.” Montgomery County residents raised concerns about the 2020 valuations in April.



When they returned to the regular session, the commissioners voted to defend that lawsuit.



“I think the word ‘defend’ is kind of ludicrous considering the lawsuit is baseless, and they’re suing the wrong dang people,” Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack said. “Tammy McRae doesn’t have the authority vested in her by the people nor by the Constitution to provide that type of relief, and a god dang mayor of a city in this county should know that, and if he doesn’t, he’s a fool.”



Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough said he and the other commissioners all agreed with Noack’s statement. Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley said to provide relief, Gov. Greg Abbott would have to call a special legislative session into order, where property tax relief could be created through legislation, which the public would vote on.



“I could’ve done just like Mayor Powell—I could’ve come out here and proclaimed that I’m gonna give everybody in Montgomery County tax relief, and I’d have been a hero, but knowing all along I couldn’t do that, so we didn’t do that,” Riley said. “He knew better, and he did it anyway.”



Montgomery County Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador called the lawsuit a “political posturing move” and pointed to the Texas comptroller, the Legislature and Abbott as the entities that actually have the power to provide relief.



In a letter sent May 27 to Abbott, Powell asked for recognition of the economic impact of the ongoing pandemic.



“I ask you to take all the steps within your power to relieve our community of the burden of these clearly excessive valuations, including if necessary, summoning the Legislature to a special session,” Powell said.



Belinoksi and McRae have both defended the actions of their respective offices.

By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


MOST RECENT

Wings Over Montgomery will open in September in downtown Montgomery. (Courtesy Wings Over Montgomery)
ROUNDUP: 7 businesses, restaurants now open, coming to or relocating in the Lake Conroe area

Businesses include Wings Over Montgomery, K. Innovations and Lake Conroe Christian Academy.

Active cases in the county have decreased by 144 since yesterday. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County adds 5 deaths related to COVID-19 Aug. 5; recoveries pass 4,000

The county's active case count fell by more than 6%, and more than 200 clinical recoveries were reported.

The Confederate Soldiers Monument stands on the south grounds of the Texas Capitol. A group of Democratic lawmakers have called for its removal, along with other statues and portraits honoring the Confederacy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
State legislators seek removal of Confederate monuments at Texas Capitol

The decision may ultimately lie with Gov. Greg Abbott and the rest of the State Preservation Board, which last year authorized the removal of a plaque in the Capitol that said slavery was not an underlying cause of the Confederate rebellion.

Conroe ISD heard a presentation on its FY 2020-21 budget at an Aug. 4 meeting. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe ISD considers adopting tax rate of $1.2125 for FY 2020-21

The next board meeting is scheduled for Aug. 18, when there will be a public hearing before the board adopts its tax rate and budget.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown will remain closed for the 2020 season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, park officials announced Aug. 4. (Courtesy Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown)
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown to remain closed for 2020 season

According to the announcement, all 2020 Hurricane Harbor Splashtown season passes and pre-purchased tickets will be valid for the 2021 season.

The county's active COVID-19 case count fell Aug. 4 as recoveries rose. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County reports 2 deaths related to COVID-19 on Aug. 4; recoveries continue to rise

Active cases fell by 82 on Aug. 4 while recoveries rose by 186, according to the county public health district.

In the last year, Whataburger launched a new, modern restaurant design and began offering curbside and delivery services for the first time amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the release. (Courtesy Elizabeth James for Whataburger)
Whataburger to celebrate 70th anniversary, unveil food truck, expand into 3 states

Nine more new Whataburger locations are planned by year's end, and 35 new restaurants are proposed for 2021.

The U.S. Census Bureau will halt its counting operation a month earlier than expected. (Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau)
U.S. Census Bureau to halt counting operation a month earlier than expected

The self-response deadline has moved up to Sept. 30.

First Response Family clinic opened at its new address Aug. 3. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
First Response Family Clinic opens at new Conroe location

The clinic moved to 3401 W. Davis St., Conroe, from 3303 W. Davis St., Conroe.

Owners Bradley Bailey and Makenzie Rankin opened Galavant's Coffee on Aug. 3. (Courtesy Galavant's Coffee)
Galavant's Coffee now open in downtown Conroe

The mobile coffee cart opened Aug. 3 in downtown Conroe.