By Joyce May
Killeen Daily Herald
GATESVILLE – The Coryell County Appraisal District did not let little things like being forced from its office, working from a travel trailer or relocating its entire operation – all within 17 days in the month of July – stop it from certifying the appraisal roll on time this year.
Chief Appraiser Jerry Hogg said certified values were mailed Wednesday to the 10 taxing entities within the county, and by Friday, most taxing entities, including the city of Copperas Cove, had reported receiving the figures.
Values for Coryell County are up $160.5 million, rising from $1.71 billion in 2006 to $1.87 billion in 2007.
"It's not a real big jump. It's pretty much in line with what we anticipated. We had some good new construction values, about $82 million for the county. It is looking really good," Hogg said.
"This year went much smoother in spite of the building collapse situation. We got it done and got it done on time."
July came in with a bang, so to speak, for the appraisal district, when a neighboring building collapsed, forcing staffers to vacate the building because of unsafe working conditions.
Operations continued under a canopy behind the office until a travel trailer was brought in for employees to work in.
A new building was secured at 801 E. Leon St., which is across from the U.S. Postal Service building and just behind the Coryell County tax office annex, for the district to operate in until negotiations with the insurance company are concluded.
Hogg said he received the report from the structural engineer hired by the insurance company, and he is now awaiting contractors to come up with bids on how much it would cost to repair the damaged structure.
"From every indication I had before, it would be a very expensive process, more than $100,000," Hogg said. "I was again reassured that it would be very expensive. I will have to negotiate with the insurance company as far as a rebuild versus bringing it on down and removing the debris."
If the building is razed, it would leave a 25-by-84 area that the appraisal district could possibly sell, with the proceeds going back into the general fund to help offset the cost that the various taxing jurisdictions pay into the appraisal district.
"Typically, when you have any adjustments to your budget like that, it goes toward benefiting the jurisdictions," Hogg said. "Essentially, the jurisdictions are getting that money back if there is any excess."
The appraisal district is funded by contributions from each of the 10 taxing jurisdictions within it including Coryell County, the city of Copperas Cove, Copperas Cove Independent School District, city of Gatesville, Gatesville ISD, Jonesboro, Oglesby ISD, city of Oglesby, Evant ISD and Central Texas College.
Certified values for the city of Copperas Cove rose $92.3 million over previous year figures – from $919.5 million in 2006 to $1.01 billion in 2007.
Copperas Cove ISD and Central Texas College also crossed the $1 billion threshold in certified values for the 2007 year.
Copperas Cove ISD values for 2006 were $911.7 million, compared to roughly $1.07 billion for 2007. Central Texas College values rose $160.8 million to $1.1 billion in 2007, compared to $945.9 million in 2006.
Hogg said much of the increase for Copperas Cove is a result of the growth of new buildings in the city.
While values were up, protests were down for the appraisal district this year.
Hogg said 680 residents initially filed protests with the appraisal district after notices went out in May, but the majority of them resolved their differences before appraisal review board hearings began.
"We probably had less than 100 people sign up for hearings and had less than 15 actual hearings," Hogg said. "Compared to last year, we had just under 400 actual hearings last year. It is way down. This is what I would call a normal year."
A dramatic increase in values in 2006 sparked an outcry from many residents and record hearings.
Contact Joyce May at email@example.com or call (254) 547-0428.