By Alicia Lacy

The Cove Herald

GATESVILLE - Seven down and six to go.

Last week the Coryell Central Appraisal District made the first step to having a new, permanent home after the county's commissioners' court approved the purchase of property for the taxing district.

The district is required to have at least 75 percent of its 17 entities approve the purchase of land to construct a new building by Sept. 4, according to Chief Appraiser Mitch Fast, in order to receive nearly $80,000 in an insurance payout for a building.

Fast said the entities have 30 days from the time they receive the notification to either pass or reject a resolution approving the purchase of the land for the taxing district. Fast said he sent out the notifications to all but two entities on Aug. 4 because they had already held their August meetings.

More than a year after the district was forced to leave their building in Gatesville after it sustained significant rain damage, and nearly a year after what remained of the building was demolished, the taxing district's board of directors approved the purchase of the land where the building once stood.

"The location will be back where we originally had the building before it was," said Coryell County Commissioner Jack Wall on Monday. "There's nothing in that lot and the appraisal board has given their approval to go forward with purchasing that lot, but 75 percent of the taxing entities have to approve."

At a board meeting for the taxing district in October, Coryell County Attorney Brandon Belt said a provision in the insurance the district had from the Texas Municipal League paid the district for their loss when the building was damaged, and if the district bought or had a building built they would receive $78,000, but was on a time limit.

According to Fast, the district had two years to either buy or build a new building, but has applied for an extension, so the appraisal district has up to July 2011 to purchase or complete construction on a new building.

In May, the appraisal district officially opened the doors to its 4,800-square-foot Copperas Cove location, but that still left the district's main office located in the ExtraCo Bank building in Gatesville.

"Having our own building, we'd be able to maintain our own hours," Fast said about the benefits of having a new facility built. "We'd recoup the $80,000 and make a substantial down payment."

"A mortgage is cheaper than renting," Fast added.

County Judge John Firth said Monday, "This gets you under the time limit so you can take advantage of the insurance dollars, so taxpayers throughout the county don't lose out on this."

If the district receives the necessary approval, a building will be built at 707 E. Main St. in Gatesville with an estimated completion date of March 2011.

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