Grayson County Commissioners approved Brett Graham as the court’s representation on the Grayson Central Appraisal District on Tuesday.
Graham appeared before the court and asked to be returned to the GCAD Board of Directors saying that he thinks the GCAD has come a long way in the last five years.
He said the district’s employees have “embraced a new vision of what an appraisal district should be which is one that focuses on transparency, as well as an understanding that the taxpayer is the customer and not the enemy.” He said the currently employees are, for the most part the same ones that were there five years ago.
“I couldn’t be more proud of what they do,” Graham said.
Graham said people come in to the GCAD with issues and might not always get those issues resolved the way they wanted, but they are always treated with respect and dignity. He said that the positive changes stem from great leadership from Chief Appraiser Shawn Coker and the Deputy Chief Appraiser Don Spencer. Graham said he also wanted to recognize the board of directors which, over the past five years, has had to make some very tough decisions.
“It is a pleasure and an honor to work with these gentlemen,” Graham said of the board.
He said the market value for Grayson County rose from $12.7 billion in 2016 to $13.92 billion in 2017, which is a 9 percent increase.
“There were jurisdictions that actually saw double digit increases,” Graham said.
In 2007, he said, GCAD managed 92,588 accounts with a value of $8.8 billion. Now, it manages 107,000 accounts with a value of $13.92 billion.
“I think we have about 15 appraisers that manage 107,000 accounts,” Graham said.
He said the board has worked hard to keep growth in line, but the GCAD has had to add some staff. They have, he said, kept growth in check by managing litigation expense. He said from 2008 to 2011, the GCAD spent around $200,000 a year on litigation. Since 2011, he said, the GCAD has worked to hire and retain top appraisers and has been able to reduce that litigation expense to $131,000 a year.
Graham said that many taxpayers don’t understand the GCAD and all other appraisal districts are under great pressure from the state to maintain market values. He said the state audits districts on this and it only applies to school districts.
“If they come in and they do an audit and they take a sampling of properties within each jurisdiction, if those properties are outside the range of 95 to 105 percent of what they (the state) consider the value, they penalize that district and take the money,” he said. “In 2016, all jurisdictions were not only within the confidence level, the overall medium level of appraisals was found to be at 99 percent of market value.”
Commissioners then voted unanimously to return Graham to the GCAD board as the county’s representative.