As the May 15 deadline to protest regular property appraisals approaches, some Fort Bend County homeowners are still in the midst of the disaster reappraisal process due to damage from Hurricane Harvey.
Under the tax code, there is a provision in which taxing entities—such as counties, cities and school districts—have the authority to approve reappraisals when there is a natural disaster declaration from the governor, said Glen Whitehead, chief appraiser with the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District.
“We’re wanting to work with the people,” Whitehead said. “It’s a trauma to go through this, and we recognize that. We want to get them all adjusted properly for the damage that they had.”
Although homeowners have been able to submit Harvey damage reports since Aug. 28, the appraisal district is still receiving reports from residents who received damage, Whitehead said.
“We’re still working with [residents],” he said. “We will work with them probably for the next 18 months. We try to get everybody in the first 30-90 days to get with us on it, but there are definitely exceptions.”
In Fort Bend ISD, property reappraisals from Hurricane Harvey will result in approximately $104.95 million in lost property value, according to the FBCAD.
Overall, this could result in a loss of approximately $1 million to the district’s general fund, according to FBISD Director of Budget Bryan Guinn. This amount is calculated from dividing the lost property value by 100 and multiplying by the tax rate of $1.06, he said.
“One of the things that [Whitehead] mentioned is that he does expect that future new growth is going to be impacted by this,” Guinn said. “Essentially, right now, all of the work that is being done around construction is based on reconstructing what was damaged, so they have seen a slowdown in new construction values.”
Projections from a late February estimate indicate approximately $36.8 billion in certified property values, which is an increase of 2.9 percent from 2017 certified values, Guinn said. It is unclear how the loss will affect the fiscal year 2018-19 budget process.
“At this point, it is a much more conservative number than what we saw last year,” Guinn said.
In Sugar Land, FBCAD projects a possible loss of approximately $15.78 million. The 2017 certified net assessed valuation for the city was $12.98 billion, according to city documents.
Missouri City will not see a loss due to Harvey reappraisals because the City Council opted not to authorize reappraisals. However, some portions of Sienna Plantation in Missouri City received damage not only from flooding but also from high winds and a tornado during Harvey.
“Based on our communication with Sienna Plantation Association residents and our observations, progress continues for those that had flood or tornado damage,” said Lisa Cox, Sienna Plantation Association community manager.
Regular appraisal notices were sent out to residents April 13, Whitehead said. The regular appraised value is reflective of each home’s Jan. 1, 2018, value, he said.
“The value impact here may be the same carryover, but it may be different because some people that had property [damage] have already had them fully repaired,” Whitehead said. “In fact, they had them repaired and updated from what they had before.”
Whitehead said he thinks the reappraisal process could affect homeowners’ property in the future, and he anticipates an initial decrease in home sales in areas affected by Harvey.
“What we typically see with properties that go through floods … [is] after a couple years people forget about the flood and values return back,” Whitehead said. “As crazy as it sounds, that’s typically the pattern that happens because you see all the homes in Houston that have been flooded ... and yet properties will still sell.”