Cameron Co. Residents Concerned Over Increase in Land Value
HARLINGEN – For some Cameron County property owners, their land values have gone up.
Retired police officer Javier Garza says he worked 31 years to pay for his property near Bayview.
He said this year's notice for his farm land's appraised value, has him worried. It's $50,000 more than in past years.
"It's difficult especially, for one, when you bought the property at a much lower price, you do expect an increase but a jump that big, is a big jump," says Garza.
The increased value is great for folks selling their home, Garza said, but in his case, it means living expenses are going up.
"You're going to wind up paying more taxes," he says, "I am concerned about that. That's why I'm here (at the appraisal office)."
Cameron County Chief Appraiser Richard Molina tells us about 90,000 property value notices went out this month.
"If we have a booming market, which this year it does seem like our the values did increase a little bit more than last year," Molina said, "the average is probably 4.5 percent, so we had some areas higher than that."
He said property owners in some rural areas of San Benito, Harlingen and Los Fresnos can expect to see some of those increases.
"You have Los Fresnos that's been booming – they have all kinds of businesses there now, they have apartments. Those are going to cause for the area by itself to move a little bit higher than the average within the county," Molina said.
He said the office's job is to determine a property's current market value, and they have to be as accurate as possible because the State Comptroller's Office is also evaluating land here to make sure school districts are getting the funding they are rightfully owed
"They review all the school districts within the county and they'll take random samples," Molina said, "and for each and every school district, we have to be within a certain ratio."
For Garza, a $50,000 property value increase is just too much. He said he's filing for an agricultural exemption and protesting this year's appraised value on his land.
Those looking to file a protest have until May 15th to turn in their paperwork to the appraisal district.