Missouri City City Council considered authorizing reappraisals of properties within the city during a special meeting Monday.

Council members met with Glen Whitehead, Fort Bend Central Appraisal District’s chief appraiser, to discuss whether authorizing reappraisals for properties damaged by Hurricane Harvey was a feasible option.

“In the state statute of property tax code, it allows the governing body—a taxing unit—that is located partly or entirely inside the area that is declared the disaster area by the governor to have the reappraisal process placed on all property damaged in the disaster,” Assistant City Manager Bill Atkinson said.

The reappraised value accounts for 35 percent of the year, beginning Aug. 28, which is when Harvey took place, through Dec. 31, according to meeting documents. The adjusted reappraised value will only be used for tax year 2017 calculations, and on Jan. 1 2018, the appraised value will be reset to what it was Jan. 1, 2017.

Individuals cannot seek independent appraisals, according to meeting documents. Only taxing authorities such as cities, special districts and counties may authorize reappraisals.

The reappraisal effort is estimated to cost $400,000, Atkinson said. However, participating taxing entities in the same territory may share the cost of reappraisals, indicating it would cost Missouri City approximately $10,652.

Staff from the Public Works Department went through the community to collect data, and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency also took aerial photos to assess damages across the county, Atkinson said. Staff has identified over 165 properties that were damaged or affected, he said.

Council Member Jeffrey Boney said he does not see the sense of urgency in authorizing the reappraisal process, and, to his knowledge, residents have not contacted city council requesting it be done.

Mayor Allen Owen said the issue was a matter of financial responsibility. The city’s budget cannot afford the reappraisal and withstand the potential loss in property tax revenue, he said.

“We’re talking about spending $65 per home for this appraisal for them to maybe get $75 back,” Owen said. “Does that make sense?”

Council Member Floyd Emery disagreed, saying residents may appreciate this reduction in tax obligation and council should seriously consider this option, using the city’s contingency fund.

City council has time to discuss this further at a later date because there is no deadline to authorize such a reappraisal, Owen said.

The tax code, under the disaster reappraisal clause, allows taxing entities to authorize reappraisals, but lists no deadlines, Whitehead said.

“It’s supposed to be as soon as practicable, so can you construe a deadline out of that since there’s none listed in that part of the code?” he said. “That’s why it’s kind of open-ended.”