FORNEY, Texas – Forney Mayor Rick Wilson has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of property owners against Kaufman County Appraisal District Chief Appraiser, Sarah Curtis asking a judge for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief for taxpayers.
In the petition filed today, Wilson alleges “the total 2019 property valuations by the KCAD increased by $2 billion dollars – doubling and tripling in some cases. Kaufman County property owners are facing the possible loss of their businesses, loss of their homes and buyers are cancelling purchases as a result of this unprecedented and unconstitutional valuation upsurge.”
“On it’s face, the District’s valuations is not equal and uniform as required by the Texas Constitution as such an increase far exceeds the present fair market cash value of those properties as a whole. The District’s Chief Appraiser and Deputy Chief Appraiser have admitted that thousands of properties are incorrectly appraised as a result of the system utilized to value the properties,” the petition says.
Chief Appraiser Curtis has confirmed that commercial properties along Hwy 80 in Forney were reduced in error, and says the properties will be re-noticed at the correct value. In a statement released to inForney.com Curtis says there were also mistakes made in the Devonshire and Vintage Meadows subdivisions, and corrections have been made.
The suit asks the judge to provide an injunction, ordering that KCAD’s 2019 property valuations be set aside and require Curtis to conduct a reappraisal that complies with all constitutional and statutory mandates.
The suit comes one day after KCAD officials abruptly announced that they had canceled their special called board of directors meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 2. In a statement to inForney.com Curtis said the meeting was canceled because the board has no authority over property values or whether something is taxable or not.
“It was an open meeting and the public was welcome to attend. However, there was no public comment section on the agenda. You could have attended but not spoken. The meeting on May 16th is the regularly scheduled monthly meeting. It doesn't matter that it is after the deadline to file a protest because the board of directors has nothing to do with property values,” Curtis says.
How does someone get on the KCAD Board of Directors?
The KCAD Board of Directors are appointed to the board by their taxing entity they represent. Currently, Robert Dobbs serves as chairman of the board. Dobbs represents the City of Forney, Forney ISD, Rockwall ISD and the City of Heath. Bruce Bynum serves as the vice-chairman. Bynum was appointed by the commissioner’s court to represent Kaufman County.
Ann Kines McDonald serves as Secretary. McDonald represents Terrell ISD, Quinlan ISD and Wills Point ISD. Michael Wood is the board member appointed to represent City of Crandall, Crandall ISD, Scurry-Rosser ISD, City of Combine, City of Seagoville and City of Talty. Member Rusty Freeman represents City of Kemp, Kemp ISD, City of Mabank and Mabank ISD.
John Zaby is the board member appointed by the City of Kaufman and Kaufman ISD while member, Karen Jones, represents City of Terrell. Kaufman County Tax Collector Brenda Samples, serves as a non-voting member of the board.
According to the district’s website, an appraisal district board of directors hires the chief appraiser, sets the budget and appoints the appraisal review board members. The directors have no authority to set values or appraisal methods. The chief appraiser carries out the appraisal district’s legal duties, hires the staff, makes the appraisals and operates the appraisal office.
What is the ARB Board? What do they do?
Curtis says the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) is the independent body that will review evidence and make determinations regarding value, equity, exemptions or taxability.
“There is no way to protest the amount of the increase or the amount of the estimated tax,” Curtis says. “They can only determine whether your market value is correct.”
Members of this board are appointed and approved by the KCAD board of directors. While all of the ARB members own property in Kaufman County, not all members live here. A list of ARB board members is available on the KCAD website or by clicking HERE.
When is the deadline to protest?
The final day to protest your 2019 tax evaluations is May 15. The next regular scheduled meeting of the KCAD board of directors is May 16.
A date has not been set for the suit’s first hearing, which will be heard by Kaufman County Court at Law #2 Judge, Bobby Rich.