Ft. Bend Tax appraisers accused of inflating valuations - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Ft. Bend Tax appraisers accused of inflating valuations

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

In a world where something is only worth what someone's willing to pay it's up to folks like the Ft. Bend County Appraisal Board to fairly establish value.

The higher the price they put on a dwelling or building the more the owner pays in local property taxes.

"The reality is Ft. Bend has just gone rogue in my opinion this year . They are acting in a completely unacceptable way," said Patrick O'Connor of O'Connor and Associates, the biggest property tax protester in the state.

In a scathing complaint to the Texas Attorney General O'Connor and Associates alleges unethical, biased and ultimately illegal behavior by the Ft. Bend County Appraisal Board.

At the core of O'Connor's charges is an alleged policy by the Ft. Bend board of reducing appraised value by no more than 5 percent, regardless of the evidence.

"Being stingy and not giving fair reductions to homeowners who are legitimately over assessed is just outrageous," said O'Connor.

But Ft. Bend County Chief Appraiser Glen Whitehead calls that allegation and other like it patently false.

"There are cases where there are more than 5 percent granted and their are cases where there is no reduction," said Whitehead, who by law, must leave the property valuation work to the appraisal board.

Whitehead believes O'Connor, whose firm racks up substantial fees protesting assessed values, is attempting to muscle Ft. Bend County to beef up his own bottom line.

"I believe this is one of the standard practices he does to try and intimidate appraisal districts. Our market here is one of the strongest in the nation, if not the strongest in the nation. When you look at the reports people are bidding on the houses above what the listing prices is," said Whitehead.

 

O'Connor says that's true but it's not a free pass to overcharge taxpayers.

"I understand and expect home values will be going up steadily in the Houston area, but that does not negate the right to a fair property tax hearing," said O'Connor.

 

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