Homeowners unhappy with rising property values in Wichita County

Local News

WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Homeowners in Wichita County are up in arms about rising property values.

The phones have been ringing quite a bit in the Wichita Appraisal District Office and most of the calls are about property values.

“This time of the year we always get a lot of inquiries about property value and probably more so this year because there was such an increase in the market. There was a very active real estate market,” Wichita County Appraisal District Chief Appraiser Lisa Stephens-Musick said.

The appraisal district sets property values according to the real estate market.

And with a booming real estate market this past year, homeowners like Paul Hillman are seeing their property values take a big increase.

That will mean a higher tax bill next year, even if tax rates don’t go up.

Hillman moved to Wichita Falls from Houston almost four years ago and says property taxes are higher here.

He says he expects at least an 800 dollar increase in his tax bill.

“If your tax rate doesn’t go up, which we know that it is, the city, the county, and the school district all have pending amounts of increased rates because they have to. Somebody’s gotta pay the bill,” Hillman said.

In 2019, Senate Bill 2 was signed which required many cities, counties, and other taxing units to hold an election if they were to raise property taxes by more than 3.5 percent.

But appraisal officials say that doesn’t mean individual taxes won’t increase more than that. It means the overall tax levy cannot increase more than that.

They advise homeowners with concerns to call the appraiser of their property.

“This is not a battle between the appraisal district and property owners. We’re really trying to be at market value. There may be something about your property that we just don’t know. We need to be made aware of any issues that might be surrounding your property,” Stephens-Musick said.

Homeowners have 30 days from the time that the appraisal notice was sent to file a protest but Hillman says there is no need to in his case.

“I’ll have to look at it. The only basis of protest is if it’s an unequal appraisal or it’s a wrong appraisal. And it’s probably not either one of those. Everybody’s gonna get hit the same,” Hillman said.

Although tax rates aren’t set until the summer, many homeowners are already bracing for bigger tax bills for their homesteads.

For more information from the appraisal district, click here.

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