Pedernales Electric Cooperative filed a petition of review against the Blanco County Central Appraisal District to challenge a drastic increase in the assessed value of PEC’s property. PEC’s petition specifically challenges the BCCAD on five pieces of property on which the estimated taxes increased 92 percent from about $120,000 in 2008 to almost $230,000 this year. According to the BCCAD’s appraisal, the assessed value of the property in question rose from $6.6 million in 2008 to $11.9 million in 2009. On Aug. 31, 2009, the Cooperative filed its petition in the 424th Judicial District to ask the court to reduce the assessments to fair-market value as of Jan. 1, 2009.
The BCCAD’s assessment is not consistent with neighboring counties. In Blanco County, the value of all of PEC’s real property increased by 70 percent from 2008 to 2009. In Hays, Comal, Travis, Kendall and Burnet counties, PEC’s real property value increased by less than 7 percent.
When PEC first learned of the sharp increases assessed by the BCCAD, property tax representatives from the firm of Duff & Phelps conducted a third-party analysis at the request of PEC. This independent review set the value of the five properties at $6.5 million, and based on the $5 million disparity between the two appraisals, PEC General Counsel Luis Garcia recommended that PEC file an appeal.
“PEC has always been willing to pay its fair share of property taxes,” said Garcia. “However, we were quite surprised by the significant increase in Blanco County, particularly considering today’s real estate market. On behalf of our members, and to protect PEC from similar increases in the future, it was necessary to file this petition.”
In addition to requesting a reduction in the assessments, PEC also is seeking reimbursement of legal fees and court costs incurred by the Cooperative to pursue this matter. PEC has retained Lorri Michel of the Michel Law Firm, P.C., in Austin to represent the Cooperative in this petition. The BCCAD has not yet responded to PEC’s appeal, and a court date will be set after the county responds.