Local Appraisal District Election Will Cost $645,000

Tarrant Appraisal District
Tarrant Appraisal District | Image by Tarrant Appraisal District

Administering the Tarrant Appraisal District elections for three new board member seats is estimated to cost taxpayers $645,470.

The change in the number of seats on the TAD board stems from a bill authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), which was passed during the second special legislative session last year. SB 2 stipulated that counties in Texas with a population over 75,000 will have their board of directors increased by three members via an amendment to the Texas Constitution. After the bill was enacted, voters approved the amendment in last November’s general election.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, eight candidates are vying for the three new at-large positions on the TAD board. Still, not everyone is happy with the expanded representation.

“This is an unfunded mandate by the state Legislature,” said Vince Puente, TAD board chair, per the Fort Worth Report. “I don’t think they often know what the cost is going to be of something they legislate.”

He stressed that $645,000 is a great deal of money for the appraisal district to spend. The estimated cost is more than double the previous $300,000 estimate the Tarrant County Elections Office provided in January. Local taxpayers will have to foot the bill mostly on their own this year.

Chief Appraiser Joe Don Bobbitt said that costs are higher for this upcoming election because of its timing since not many taxing entities are having elections on May 4. If more entities were having elections at the same time, the costs would have been split further, according to FWR.

However, attorney Matthew Tepper said this should not be an issue going forward, per FWR. Future TAD board elections will occur every other November in either presidential or gubernatorial election years.

At its April 22 meeting, the TAD board approved a contract with Tarrant County Elections to administer the election across 180 polling places and laid down a $484,110 deposit.

Besides affecting administrative costs, the timing of the election is problematic for another reason, as Puente pointed out: “We’re also running up against runoff elections, we’re running up against local elections, so that’s a very confusing time for the public.”

Of the eight candidates, three have been endorsed by Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare: Eric Morris for Place 1, Callie Rigney for Place 2, and Matt Bryant for Place 3.

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