Board And Staff
- Board Of Directors
- Functions of the Board of Directors
- General Policy
- District Administration
- Public Complaint Procedures
- Public Access Policies for Meetings
Board Of Directors:
|Anthony Dorotik||Chairman||El Campo ISD|
|Lane Schoeneberg||Vice-Chairman||Louise ISD|
|Jon M. Sharp||Secretary||East Berenard ISD|
|Steven Ward||City of El Campo|
|Jimmy Kainer||Wharton County|
|Jerry Svatek||Boling ISD|
|Karen Schulz||City of Wharton|
|Robert Osborne||City of East Barnard|
|Sherrell Speer||Wharton ISD|
|Patrick L. Kubala||Tax Assessor/Collector|
Functions of the Board of DirectorsThe Texas Legislature enacted the Tax Code in 1979 and for the first time created countywide appraisal of property for ad valorem taxation. This function was assigned to appraisal districts pursuant to Chapter 6 of the Tax Code.
Governance of the districts was given to a board of directors. The members may not receive compensation for service on the board, but are entitled to reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses. Specific responsibilities for the board of directors are:
- Appointing the chief appraiser
- Contracting with other appraisal offices, taxing units or private firms to perform appraisal functions;
- Adopting annual budgets for the operation of the appraisal district
- Determining a method of financing the annual budget based on cost allocation among taxing units;
- Purchasing or leasing real property, as well as constructing improvements to establish the appraisal district office
- Ensuring preparation of annual audits by certified public accountants;
- Selecting a financial institution to deposit funds through bid solicitations;
- Entering contracts for appraisal functions, all for all expenditures, comply with the competitive bidding requirements established by law;
- Being a necessary party to lawsuits brought by property owners concerning appraisals;
- Approving the appointment of the Agricultural Advisory Board
- Appointing the members of the Appraisal Review Board and increasing the size of said boardís membership when necessary;
- Develop a biennial written reappraisal plan for the districtís appraisal activities
- Administering the district office in any other manner required by law.
The board of directors has no responsibility for setting tax rates, appraising property, adjusting appraisals, granting or denying exemptions, or any other matter directly affecting the value of property.
Effective September 2007, Section 6.15, Property Tax Code.
It is a criminal offense for a member of the board of directors to directly or indirectly communicate with the chief appraiser on any matter relating to the appraisal of property, except in open session with an agenda item.
Board of Directors General Policy
- Must be resident and have resided in the district for at least the 2 preceding years
- Cannot be an employee of a tax unit unless also a member of the governing body or an elected official.
- Cannot be related to persons who operate for compensation as a tax agent or property tax appraiser in this district.
- Cannot contract with this district or have a substantial interest in a business that contracts with this appraisal district or its tax units.
- Cannot be delinquent on property taxes, having known of delinquency for more than sixty (60) days unless the delinquency is current under an installment payment agreement under Section 33.02 or the delinquent taxes are deferred or abated under Section 33.06 or 33.065.
- Elected County Assessor-Collector must serve in a non-voting capacity, unless allowed to vote by resolution adopted by the board of directors.
TermsThe Board of Directors serve two-year terms beginning on January 1st of even numbered years. The county assessor-collector shall follow their term of office.
SelectionThe Central Appraisal Districtís taxing units invoke Section 6.031 of the Texas Property Tax Code. The selection process allows for 9 appointed directors; one from the county, 5 school district representatives and 3 city/town representatives, along with the non-voting county tax assessor/collector, for a total of 10 members. Commissionerís Court and the governing bodies of Boling ISD, East Bernard ISD, El Camp ISD, Louise ISD, Wharton ISD, City of East Bernard, City of El Campo and City of Wharton may appoint a representative. All appointments must meet the eligibility requirements stated above.
VacanciesIf a vacancy occurs for any reason, the governing body that had appointed that position will make a new appointment within 60 days of notification. Any appointment must meet the eligibility requirements stated above.
RecallThe governing body that made an appointment to a position on the board of directors may initiate recall proceedings on that appointment.
OfficersThe board of directors, at the January meeting of each year, shall select by majority vote, a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary. All members of the board of directors may not receive compensation for service, but are entitled to reimbursement for actual and reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
- All meetings shall be held in the Board Room of the Central Appraisal District of Wharton located at 308 East Milam in Wharton. All meetings conform to Texas Open Meeting Act.
- Regular meetings are generally held on the second Thursday, of odd numbered months, at 4:30 pm. Special or emergency meetings may be called by the Chairman or a majority of board members. The time and location of all meetings is subject to change at the call of the chairman.
- Notice of meetings shall be posted as required by law, with the Wharton County Clerk, Courthouse Annex. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum. A majority being 6 of the 10 board members.
- Meetings shall conform to Robertís Rules of Order Revised, unless otherwise directed by board policy.
- An agenda packet containing the agenda, minutes of previous meeting, financial standing and a list of bills payable shall be prepared and mailed/delivered to each board member prior to the meeting. Agendas and previous meeting minutes will be sent to all tax units served by this appraisal district.
- No business shall be transacted except that for which an agenda has been duly posted.
- As conditions warrant, and in conformity with the exceptions set out in the Open Meetings Act, the Board may recess to an Executive Session, which shall be open to individuals specified by the board. An Executive Session may be called by the board chairman.
- The official minutes shall be held by the Chief Appraiser or designated personnel.
Board of Directors Appointments
Appraisal Review BoardThe Appraisal Review Board is responsible for the local administrative review of appraisal records. The members of this board are appointed by the Appraisal District Board of Directors. Members serve two-year terms, with a maximum of three consecutive terms. There are 5 members. The Board of Directors will make a good faith effort to ensure one ARB member from each of the five school districts, provided an eligible, qualified person indicates a willingness to serve.
- Potential ARB candidates come from: Appraisal District Board of Directors; Superintendents of School Districts The public
- Directors are responsible for submission of eligible, potential candidates from their area to the whole board for consideration.
- Each November, the Board of Directors will notify superintendents if an ARB position for their district will be open for appointment or re-appointment. Superintendents are invited to submit eligible candidates for consideration.
- Applications for the public are available for anyone interested in serving, as a way of submitting their name for consideration. Applications are not required for appointment.
- January Board Meeting - The board will assemble a list of all known potential ARB candidates, from all sources. The list will further be divided by resident school district. Candidates that have not visited with a board member, will be assigned to a member for personal contact regarding interest in serving as ARB member.
- Prior to the next regular scheduled board meeting, the county assessor, as a board member, will do a diligent search to ensure all candidates are current on property taxes or pay-out agreements.
- The Chief Appraiser will ensure, through the potential candidate:
-How long he/she lived in Wharton County
-That he/she is not affiliated with the CAD or its tax units by employment or substantial business interest
-That he/she is not related to anyone who may appraise or represent property owners before the ARB in hearings or representation
- Next regular scheduled board meeting, county assessor will report on delinquent taxes of candidates and chief appraiser will report candidate qualifications.
- Directors will then review and discuss potential candidates. Though representation per school district is favorable, that is not the primary consideration. Candidates with a background in real estate and/or law will be weighted as most favorable. If there remains more candidates available than vacancies, the board will further consider community involvement and employment background and expertise.
- All candidates will receive notification of appointments and those not appointed remain on the list of potential candidates for 4 years (2 terms).
- Due to the volatility of market conditions, it is hard to know the scope of protest schedules from year to year. However, the commitment to attend hearings is significant to ensure representation of area and varying viewpoints for a more rounded board. Though a quorum is represented by 3 members, the Directors have designated the ARB as a 5 member board. The Property Tax Code allows the Directors to set an attendance requirement for ARB members. Failure to meet the minimum attendance may be grounds for removal.
- Typically, the required Comptroller class is held in March/April. Organization meeting, along with the review/adoption of Policy & Procedures is April/May Hearings may begin in May, with certification required by July 25. Therefore, hearing schedule load will be determined based on the volume of protest filed by deadline. This will generally encompass all of May, June and July. Additionally, late protest, Section 25.25 protest and supplemental changes may require additional meetings on a quarterly basis, August through March.
- ARB members are urged to attend all meetings. However, excused absences are counted as present for this requirement for medical reasons, funerals and family emergencies.
- The Board of Directors has determined a 90% attendance requirement.
Removal of ARB Member
- To ensure ARB member can act in good faith and vote their conscience without fear of retaliation or retribution, the Property Tax Code is very narrow and specific on grounds for removal of ARB members. The Board of Directors will strictly adhere to the law. Section 6.41(f) governs grounds of removal.
- Violation of 6.412...becomes ineligible due to relation to individual engaged in appraisal of property for compensation, or related to individual who represents property owners for compensation before ARB proceedings.
Becomes delinquent on Property Taxes
Becomes member of CAD Board of Directors, or employee of CAD
Becomes officer, employee or member of Tax Unit within CAD
- Violation of 6.413...is member or part of business that enters into contract with CAD or Tax
Tax Unit within CAD
- Violation of 41.66(f)...violates Ex Parte Communication by communicating with any party
Regarding evidence, merits, arguments or facts on any property subject to pending
- Violation of 41.69...participating in hearing which member or relative has an interest
- Violation of Attendance requirement as adopted by Board of Directors
- Can not be related to someone who appraises property for compensation or representing someone for compensation at ARB Hearings.
- Can not be delinquent on property taxes, having known of delinquency for more than sixty (60) days unless the delinquency is current under an installment payment agreement under Section 33.02 or the delinquent taxes are deferred or abated under Section 33.06 or 33.065.
- Can not be an Appraisal District board member, CAD employee, employee of the Texas Comptroller, or member, officer, employee of any tax unit. A prior member of the CAD board or tax unit is permitted.
- Must have resided in the district for at least two preceding years.
- Can not have substantial interest, as described in Section 6.413, in any contract for any services with the CAD or any tax units served by the CAD.
CompensationAppraisal Review Board members shall receive $50 per session. A session is 5 minutes to 4 hours. This is paid for quarterly meetings, hearings and/or training sessions. Meals will be reimbursed.
- The Appraisal Review Board is responsible, by statute, for the review of the appraisal records, value, exemptions, ownership, etc. and the hearings and determinations of taxpayer protest and tax unit challenges. Each member must attend an annual Property Tax Division training seminar, for a Certificate of Completion that must be maintained in the ARB minute records.
- Additionally, each ARB member must view the video and get a Certificate of Completion for the Public Information Act and Open Meeting Act. This must be completed only once, and within the first year of appointment.
- The appraisal district staff will provide clerical assistance to the Appraisal Review Board.
- The Appraisal Review Board will adopt Rules of Procedure regarding their meetings and hearings.
Board of Directors District Administration
Chief AppraiserThe Chief Appraiser is the chief administrative officer of the appraisal district office. The chief appraiser is appointed by the board of directors and serves at the pleasure of the board. The chief appraiser is directly accountable to the board of directors for the effective discharge of all duties and responsibilities. All other personnel are employed by and accountable to the chief appraiser. The chief appraiser may delegate authority to subordinate employees.
Duties and ResponsibilitiesThe chief appraiser coordinates and implements the goals and objectives established by board policy, provisions of the Property Tax Code and other applicable laws and rules. The chief appraiserís responsibilities include numerous statutory responsibilities related to the development of appraisal rolls and for the administration of the office. Additionally, the chief appraiser is assigned duties by the board of directors necessary for conduct of board duties and implementation of board policy. The chief appraiser shall;
- Establish a comprehensive program for conduct of all appraisal activities and keep the board informed on the progress of appraisal activities.
- Develop and implement sound administrative procedures for conduct of all district functions.
- Develop and implement an effective financial management system and provide reports to the board.
- Develop and implement an effective internal budget development system and prepare a proposed budget by June 15th of each year.
- Serve as the districtís spokesperson in providing information to news media, taxing units and the general public on the operations of the appraisal district and provisions of the Property Tax laws.
- Prepare the agenda for each board meeting, attend all meetings and provide staff recommendations for all appropriate board actions.
- In consultation with the appraisal district legal counsel, to provide recommendations on litigation matters for board action.
- Develop and implement a personnel management system for job assignments, personnel evaluations, staff hiring and other personnel related matters.
- Employ and compensate professional, clerical and other personnel as provide by the budget.
- Appoint members of the Ag Advisory Board with the advice and consent of the board of directors.
- Shall be the Records Management officer for the District.
- Chief Appraiser will need board approval for expenditure of interest earned monies and single priced expenditures exceeding $2000.
- Chief Appraiser is encouraged to attend conventions, conferences, seminars and other meetings, which may be held for the improvement of the District. He/She will keep informed on all legislative and rule changes in relation to the business of the District.
- Chief Appraiser will participate, to the extend required by counsel, to participate in any Property Value Study appeal performed on the behalf of any Wharton County school district.
Chief Appraiser Vacancy, Resignation and/or TerminationTo resign in good standing, chief appraiser will submit a written letter of resignation 30 days prior to intended last day or as stated in a valid individual employment contract. Chief Appraiser will assist the board of directors in advertising for replacement. A resignation in good standing entitles chief appraiser to payment for accumulated vacation pay and/or any other compensation stated in a valid individual employment contract and/or Personnel Policy.
Termination of chief appraiser is at the pleasure of the board of directors. Based on the severity of reasons, termination may be immediate or up to 30 days notice. Other factors may apply as stated in a valid individual employment contract. A detail of severance causes is stated in the General Personnel Policy.
Should a vacancy occur, the board of directors will begin the process of replacement:
- Appoint a search committee consisting of the chairman and three board members.
- Develop an advertisement reflecting minimum expected qualifications, expectations.
- Develop a timetable to accept applications, interview and present candidates.
- Publish advertisement in local publications, surrounding counties and with the Texas
- Association of Appraisal Districts and Texas Association of Assessing Officers.
- Committee will determine interviews with best qualified candidates. If necessary, the CAD will house a potential candidate in a near by hotel.
- The committee will then report to the entire board on all candidates, the interviewed candidates and why they were chosen and make a recommendation to the board for further investigation.
- The board, as a whole, will conduct an interview with the recommended candidate for consideration.
- The board will vote on the new chief appraiser and negotiate a contract package. The board of directors reserves the right to sign a contract after the first 6 month probationary review.
- If a new chief appraiser has not been determined within 30 days of the prior chief appraiserís departure, an interim chief appraiser shall be appointed.
This process may be varied with board action.
Board of Directors Public Complaint ProceduresIf any member of the public wishes to file a complaint with the board of directors concerning the operation of the appraisal office or any other function over which the board has responsibility, he or she may do so. Written correspondence to the chairman of the board outlining the complaint should be delivered to the chief appraiser of the district at the appraisal district office. The name and mailing address of the party that files complaint must be provided to allow for a follow-up with any agenda or board action taken in response to the complaint.
The chief appraiser will transmit copies of all the correspondence to members of the board of directors. The issues raised in such complaints or commentary will be discussed by the board at the next scheduled public meeting, and public testimony will be invited.
No employee or official of the appraisal district shall be sanctioned or disciplined in any manner by the board in response to a complaint without being given an opportunity to be heard by the board at a public meeting. Each employee and official of the appraisal district shall cooperate fully with an investigation stemming from any complaint.
At each regular meeting, the board shall request that the chief appraiser report on the status of all pending complaints.
Pursuant to Section 6.04(g), Texas Property Tax Code, the board of directors shall notify the parties to the complaint concerning its status on a quarterly basis until final disposition of the matter, unless notice would jeopardize an undercover investigation.
Board of Directors Public Access Policies for MeetingsPursuant to Section 6.04(d), Texas Property Tax Code, a reasonable period of time at the beginning of each meeting of the Appraisal District Board of Directors shall be provided for public comments regarding the business of the appraisal district. The period of time shall be five (5) minutes per person. The time limit may be adjusted at the discretion of the Chairman of the board at each meeting. If a large number of persons wish to speak to the board, the chairman may reduce each personís time for speaking as may be reasonably necessary to allow the board to complete its business and adjourn the meeting at a reasonable time. The board may refuse to hear any person who attempts to speak on a subject unrelated to the business of the appraisal district or within the jurisdiction of the board of directors.
Pursuant to Section 6.04(e), Texas Property Tax Code, the following policies are adopted to provide public access to the Board of Directors for purposes of testimony at public meetings concerning Appraisal District and Appraisal Review Board policies and procedures, as well as any matter over which the board has responsibility:
- Any non-English speaking person, deaf person or person who has any physical, mental or development disability desiring to appear before the board must file a written request with the Chief Appraiser. The chief appraiser will schedule the person to present testimony at the next regularly scheduled board meting. The request should indicate any special assistance or arrangement required to make the presentation to the board possible.
- The Chief Appraiser shall provide at least one bilingual person in the county to serve as an interpreter. An interpreter shall attend any meeting of the board of directors in which a non-English speaking person is scheduled to testify.
- The Chief Appraiser shall coordinate with the area service council of the Texas Commission for the deaf in obtaining services for an interpreter to attend any meeting of the board of directors in which a deaf person is scheduled to testify.
- The Chief Appraiser shall coordinate with the Texas Rehabilitation Commission, and/or other public and private agencies with regional offices to provide proper arrangements for public forums, sufficient area for wheelchairs and other mobility aides and any other matter that would assist in improved access to the board of directors.
- Meetings of the Board of Directors for which written notice has been given from persons requiring barrier free access shall be conducted in public buildings complying with the standards and specifications adopted by the State Purchasing and General Services Commission pursuant to the Elimination of Architectural Barriers Act. If no barrier-free public building is available, the Chief Appraiser shall attempt some temporary modification of the appraisal district office or relocate the meeting to some other room or part of the appraisal district office.