Rockwall Mayor Jim Pruitt, in partnership with the mayors of several other cities in Rockwall County, has petitioned Governor Greg Abbott to put a freeze on property tax values for 2020. In concern for the numerous financial challenges residents have already experienced this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the potential hard times still ahead, the mayors sent a unified letter to the governor requesting that he put a stop to property appraisal increases for this year, essentially rolling back the appraisals to 2019 values. The clock is ticking on this request, as the valuation letters are currently at the printer and are set to be mailed on Tuesday, April 14.
The 2020 appraisals are representative of the market value on January 1, as required by state law. That was before coronavirus wreaked havoc in so many ways. A lot has changed since January, in Texas and around the world. In fact, the entire State of Texas has been hit hard by the COIVD-19 pandemic this year, and with the end still uncertain, effects will potentially be felt for quite some time.
“There is so much stress in our communities right now as we navigate through this COVID-19 crisis; it seems unconscionable to generate the expected double digit increase in valuations during this time,” the letter reads. “In addition to the stress created, it would also require residents to present themselves to the Central Appraisal District for protest hearings, which would fly in the face of the stay-at-home and physical distancing orders we have all implemented.”
Without relief, residents will receive the new assessments and have to follow the same appeal process as in previous years. Unfortunately, that means long lines of frustrated citizens who are supposed to be social distancing and staying at home. There are thousands of protests filed each year in Rockwall County alone.
There are no ulterior motives behind this request—only a concern for residents in a time of crisis. The Rockwall City Council has voted to lower the tax rate every year for the last six years. Governor Abbott is the only one who can fix this problem by executive order.
Submitted press release by City of Rockwall.
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