Tied Commissioners’ Vote Means Audit Decision Left to Assessment District | New
The Victoria County Commissioners Court made no decision on whether or not to have an audit at Monday morning’s court meeting, leaving the decision to the Victoria Central Valuation District.
When it came to deciding whether to proceed, because there were four members at the meeting, it ended in a 2-2 vote, meaning no decision was was taken.
The Victoria Central Appraisal District made a presentation ahead of the Commissioners Court meeting. Generally, all Texas properties must be taxed at market value as of January 1 of the tax year. The County Assessment District uses a mass appraisal technique for homes and many small business properties.
The county has not agreed to hold an audit with the International Association of Appraisal Officers, a nonprofit education and research association. It is a professional organization made up of government assessment officers and others interested in property tax administration. It has more than 8,500 members worldwide.
Victoria County Judge Ben Zeller said the Central Assessing District of Victoria would make the decision whether or not to use the IAAO for an audit, but the Commissioners Court would not. The Victoria Central Appraisal District accepted the audit after residents complained about the value of properties placed on their properties. But that will be up to them, not the court of commissioners, Zeller said.
Speaking ahead of the district’s assessment meeting in July, Victoria Mayor Jeff Bauknight told district members there needed to be an audit to see if prices were where they should be. This was after the city had already adopted a recommendation to use an independent auditor.
At the July 15 meeting, Victoria’s Chief Assessor and Assessment District Operations Manager John Haliburton told the public that he had neither the time nor the people to allocate to the project, as a certified public accountant performs a financial audit of the city every year. The state comptroller evaluates each district every two years.
“It’s a situation that requires a lot of work to get everything ready,” Haliburton told district members. “This unprecedented rise in values is not just in Victoria. It’s all over Texas.
The IAAO, as an independent third party, would provide broad review of processes and valuations, according to the commissioners’ court documents, and increase clarity regarding district procedures and real estate valuations. According to the documents, this should also build community confidence and build trust in the evaluation process. It will be up to the Victoria Central Appraisal District to decide if an audit will be held.
Central Assessment District Board Chairman Ludvik Svetlik could not be reached for comment on Monday.
A lifelong journalist, George loves ’60s musclecars and guns.