Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan Tuesday called for a fresh appraisal for properties damaged in last month’s flood. Sullivan was one of the lead witnesses at a state senate hearing on property tax reform, held at the University of Houston.
“It might be a good idea to conduct a reappraisal now in Harris County due to the recent floods,” he said. “We’ve had homeowners, commercial properties, multifamily [residential properties] all devastated all over the county in various parts. And it’s a discussion item that certainly should be evaluated.”
Such a reappraisal could lower the tax bill for flood-damaged properties. Harris County Chief Appraiser Sands Stiefer, who also testified, said roughly 3,300 property owners have reported flood damage.
“Those are in subdivisions that involve tens of thousands of properties,” Stiefer said, “and so part of that would be looking to be sure the ones that didn’t call 311, or the ones that didn’t get noticed, to be sure that we got those.”
It’s unclear how much of that the county could accomplish, given that this year’s appraisals have already gone out. But Mike Olivares, chief operating officer of real estate appraisal firm O’Connor and Associates, says there might be an alternative.
“That would simply be to take into consideration the damage and loss of value that’s taken place due to the flooding into the protest and hearing cycle, which really goes underway after May 31, which is, for the most part, the property tax protest filing deadline for most taxpayers,” Olivares says.
The Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief has been holding hearings throughout Texas over the course of 2016. Houston’s hearing was the fifth stop on the tour.