It appears that there is some confusion regarding the actual parcel (property) count within the county and how some properties are handled by the Appraisal District.
The appraisal district is responsible for appraising property in the district for ad valorem tax purposes. The Atascosa Central Appraisal District currently consists of some 74,436 properties, or parcels, that must be appraised. These parcels include a wide variety of property types: from vacant land to pastureland, apartment buildings to hotels and oil and gas mineral interests to machinery and equipment used to produce income.
Appraisal districts typically appraise land, residential and other local properties, in-house using appraisers that work directly for the district. Due to the complex nature of appraising some types of properties, most appraisal districts hire professional appraisal firms that specialize in industrial, utility, pipeline, and mineral appraisals to perform the appraisals of such properties. Atascosa Central Appraisal District contracts with the registered professional engineering firm of Hugh L. Landrum & Associates, Inc. to appraise the district’s industrial, utility, pipeline, and mineral properties. Of the 74,436 parcels in the district, the district appraises 61.23% or 45,596 parcels in-house and contracts out the remaining 38.74% or 28,840 parcels. Included within the parcel count appraised by the district are the business personal property accounts, which total 1,572.
The International Association of Assessing Officers’ recommendations regarding organizational structure for appraisal personnel recommends 3,100 parcels per appraiser for county-wide appraisals. The district’s reappraisal plan breaks the real property parcel count reappraisals into a 2-year cycle. In order to comply with the reappraisal plan and complete the recommended appraisals of 22,012 properties, the district would need 7.1 field appraisers working real property accounts. We are currently staffed at 4.5 field appraisers. We have one appraiser designated to the appraisal of the business personal property accounts.
For clarification, the following is the definition of “property” from the Texas Property Tax Code: Sec. 1.04. Definitions. In this title: (1) “Property” means any matter or thing capable of private ownership.
(2) “Real property” means:
•(B) an improvement;
•(C) a mine or quarry;
•(D) a mineral in place;
•(E) standing timber; or
•(F) an estate or interest, other than a mortgage or deed of trust creating a lien on property or an interest securing payment or performance of an obligation, in a property enumerated in Paragraphs (A) through (E) of this subdivision.
(3) “Improvement” means:
•(A) a building, structure, fixture, or fence erected on or affixed to land;
•(B) a transportable structure that is designed to be occupied for residential or business purposes, whether or not it is affixed to land, if the owner of the structure owns the land on which it is located, unless the structure is unoccupied and held for sale or normally is located at a particular place only temporarily; or
•(C) for purposes of an entity created under Section 52, Article III, or Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, the:
•(i) subdivision of land by plat;
•(ii) installation of water, sewer, or drainage lines; or
•(iii) paving of undeveloped land.
(3-a) Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, a manufactured home is an improvement to real property only if the owner of the home has elected to treat the manufactured home as real property pursuant to Section 1201.2055, Occupations Code, and a copy of the statement of ownership has been filed with the real property records of the county in which the home is located as provided in Section 1201.2055(d), Occupations Code.
(4) “Personal property” means property that is not real property.
While some manufactured homes meet the definition of real property, the ones that do not are still appraised by the real property field appraisal staff and not the business personal property appraiser.
All appraisals are done in compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) for Mass Appraisal and Personal Property Appraisal as required by Section 23.06 (b) of the Texas Property Tax Code.
The real property parcel count has grown by 1823 accounts from 2020-2022. The district is expecting an additional 2000 accounts within the next two years. To distribute the workload appropriately and prepare for the future growth within the county, an additional field appraiser is necessary to maintain the level of efficiency that we have been operating under for the past 15 years.
The development of the budget for appraisal districts is described in Section 6.06 of the Texas Property Tax Code. To deviate from the procedure in the Tax Code would be to violate the law.
In closing, I feel it is important to stress that the Appraisal District is a political subdivision of the State of Texas. We are not a county entity. We report market value to the local taxing jurisdictions as required by statute. The appraisal district does not set tax rates, nor do we impose a tax. That is done by the county and other governing bodies within the county, respectively.
MICHELLE L BERDEAUX RPA, RTA, CTA, CCA has been a Property Tax Professional for 25 years. Registered Professional Appraiser, Registered Tax Assessor/ Collector, Certified Tax Administrator and a Certified Chief Appraiser. Past Steering Committee Chairperson of the Texas Rural Chief Appraisers Association (2019) and the current President of the Texas Association of Assessing Officers.