Have you ever questioned how much time and effort goes into the appraisal of your property? Do you wonder if you have complete access to appraisal district records? Revised office hours and restricted access to our offices has prompted me to evaluate whether Ector CAD is providing on our website everything you need to be an informed taxpayer.
Let’s begin with the education and knowledge requirements that go into developing your appraised value each year. Appraisers are registered with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, must undergo a 5-year process to be certified as a Registered Professional Appraiser, and must meet continuing education requirements. In addition to following the laws set out in the Texas Property Tax Code and the Appraisal Standards Board’s Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices (USPAP), we also comply with the International Association of Assessing Officers’ (IAAO) Property Appraisal and Assessment Administration guidelines. At the completion of each annual appraisal cycle, Ector CAD publishes a Mass Appraisal Report that details our appraisal procedures for all property types. The 47-page 2020 mass appraisal report is one of many reports readily available on our website, www.ectorcad.org, under Annual Reports.
The ECAD Annual Report is also produced at end of the annual appraisal cycle. It contains information regarding market and taxable values, value lost to exemptions, values and counts for new construction, and average home values by taxing entity. It also contains statistics regarding the taxpayer protest and appeal process, as well as Ector CAD’s most recent scores in the Method and Assistance Program (MAP) review and Property Value Study (PVS) conducted biannually by the Property Tax Assistance Division of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Other reports provide information on how business personal property assets are depreciated using age/life schedules, capitalization rates used to value low-income housing properties, appraisal parameters used in the discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis for oil & gas properties, and top taxpayers by taxing entity. These reports are all located on our website under Annual Reports. In addition to the Mass Appraisal Report which reviews the most recent year, appraisal districts are also required to adopt a two-year reappraisal plan that outlines the methods and frequency of properties to be appraised in future years. The 116-page Reappraisal Plan for 2021-2022 to be adopted by the ECAD Board of Directors this month is located on our website under Annual Reports. Adopted budgets for the current and upcoming years and ECAD’s utility usage information are under Annual Reports as well.
Items under About ECAD provide information on our Board of Directors and their rules, policies, and agenda items, the rules and procedures adopted by the Appraisal Review Board, and public notices regarding your rights as a taxpayer. Brochures under General include information regarding appraisal methods, tax calendar deadlines, requirements for homestead application, how to protest your property, building blocks of your tax amount, answers to delinquent tax questions, taxpayer alerts regarding scams, and frequently asked questions regarding appraisal value and exemptions. Exemption amounts offered by taxing entity and historical tax rates are provided under Taxing Entity Information. Certified appraisal rolls, original tax files, unpaid tax files, mapping shapefiles, and listings of apartments and hotel/motels are all available under Downloads. All reports under these headings are continuously available, unlike the property searches which are disabled during regular appraisal and collection information updates.
If the information you want is not provided on our website, you can request it. Check our Confidential Information Policy, located under About ECAD, for documents not open to public inspection by law. Accountable and transparent public service is more important than ever before, so we are always happy to hear your recommendations for website and public information improvements. If you have questions or suggestions regarding any appraisal district matter, please come by our office at 1301 E. 8th Street, call us at 432-332-6834, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to provide you with excellent service and 24/7 access to our information.
Campbell is the chief appraiser for the Ector County Appraisal District. Her column on tax issues appears on the first Sunday of each month.