UCAD chief to see more cash, longer contract amid spike in protests


Uvalde County property owners filed approximately 2,375 property value protests this year, a record high for the appraisal district, Uvalde County Appraisal District chief appraiser Roberto Valdez reported Tuesday, when he received a one-year contract extension and a 4-percent raise.

His contract is now valid until September of 2023, and his annual salary has been increased to $97,000, up from $93,558. Valdez joined the appraisal district office in October of 2016 at a salary of $82,500.

Upon joining UCAD in 2016, Valdez replaced interim chief appraiser Jesus Flores, who was filling in after the departure of seven-year chief appraiser Alberto Mireles.

He said 80 percent, or 1,912 of the protests were filed inside the UCAD office, while 463 were filed online, also a record number.

Thus far, about 2,178 protest cases have been closed, and of those, approximately 407 protests were withdrawn by property owners; 1,324 property owners met with staff and reached a settlement of value; and about 357 property owners failed to appear for their ARB meeting.

About 197 protests are still pending ARB review, and those meetings have been rescheduled from September to October due to a lack of quorum of ARB members.

Five members compose Appraisal Review Board, and three must be physically present to hold a meeting. Valdez said with one member of the ARB not entering public spaces due to COVID-19, and others having scheduling conflicts, having a quorum has proven difficult.

Valdez said the accounts with pending protests will not receive a tax statement in October.

The banner year came as the district was minus three staff appraisers.

“Considering we were facing three vacancies in the appraisal staff, we were able to manage,” Valdez told the district’s board of directors.

The district recently hired two appraisers, Brittney N. Kauffman and Edward C. Pounders, and is accepting applications for the third vacancy. When fully staffed, the district employs seven appraisers.

Reappraisal Plan

The district manages over 24,000 real and personal property accounts that are reappraised on a three-year cycle, equating to approximately 8,000 accounts scheduled annually.

For 2022, properties within Knippa, Sabinal, Leakey and Utopia Independent School Districts are scheduled for reappraisal, as well as a carryover of about 3,000 properties from the 2021 reappraisal plan which includes properties located within Uvalde CISD but outside Uvalde city limits.

Valdez said the district will start the reappraisal process, most likely by Oct. 15, and will begin with the 2021 carryover accounts.

Other business

Other items discussed in the meeting include an update on property value protests; the 2021 reappraisal plan; staffing; and a report from the delinquent tax attorney.

Director Tony Moreno was not present for the meeting.

In their action, the board approved the minutes of the July 21 meeting; the district’s financial reports through Aug. 31, 2021; and amended the employee sick leave policy to align with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2021.

The board also approved the 2021-22 appraiser salary schedule.

mfederspill@ulnnow.com, 830-278-3335