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Property Tax Directors 6.03

Property Tax Directors 6.03

Texas County Appraisal District Board of Directors Selected by Tax Entities with No Taxpayer Representative

Texas county appraisal districts are governed by a board of directors comprised solely of representative of the tax entities. The board of directors has two primary duties: 1) select chief appraiser and 2) approve budget. Rules for elections and eligibility requirements for members of the board of directors outlined in 6.03.

Section 6.03 – Board of Directors

The board of directors controls the appraisal district and is elected by the tax entities served by the appraisal district. The five-member board typically meets monthly to address policy, budgetary and contract issues. They are also kept current regarding operational issues. Execution of policy and operational decisions is the responsibility of the chief appraiser.

The board of directors’ power results from its authority to change the chief appraiser at will, to approve the budget and select the members of the appraisal review board.

The board of directors is probably the Achilles heel of the Texas property tax system. They are selected and elected by the tax entities. Given the selection process, their loyalty typically (and understandably) lies with the tax entities. Requests to appraisal district board of directors to remedy problems with the appraisal district or appraisal review board are not typically effective.
Appraisal boards of directors have effectively overseen the timely assessment and certification of property tax rolls. However, they have not ensured lawful behavior by appraisal district staff or lawful appraisal review board hearings.

Property owners do have the right to file a complaint with the appraisal district board of directors under this section. The board of directors is required to report quarterly until the complaint is resolved.

Sec. 6.03. Board of Directors.

(a) The appraisal district is governed by a board of directors. Five directors are appointed by the taxing units that participate in the district as provided by this section. If the county assessor-collector is not appointed to the board, the county assessor-collector serves as a nonvoting director. The county assessor-collector is ineligible to serve if the board enters into a contract under Section 6.05(b) or if the commissioners court of the county enters into a contract under Section 6.24(b). To be eligible to serve on the board of directors, an individual other than a county assessor-collector serving as a nonvoting director must be a resident of the district and must have resided in the district for at least two years immediately preceding the date the individual takes office. An individual who is otherwise eligible to serve on the board is not ineligible because of membership on the governing body of a taxing unit. An employee of a taxing unit that participates in the district is not eligible to serve on the board unless the individual is also a member of the governing body or an elected official of a taxing unit that participates in the district.

(b) Members of the board of directors other than a county assessor-collector serving as a nonvoting director serve two-year terms beginning on January 1 of even-numbered years.

(c) Members of the board of directors other than a county assessor-collector serving as a nonvoting director are appointed by vote of the governing bodies of the incorporated cities and towns, the school districts, the junior college districts, and, if entitled to vote, the conservation and reclamation districts that participate in the district and of the county. A governing body may cast all its votes for one candidate or distribute them among candidates for any number of directorships. Conservation and reclamation districts are not entitled to vote unless at least one conservation and reclamation district in the district delivers to the chief appraiser a written request to nominate and vote on the board of directors by June 1 of each odd-numbered year. On receipt of a request, the chief appraiser shall certify a list by June 15 of all eligible conservation and reclamation districts that are imposing taxes and that participate in the district.

(d) The voting entitlement of a taxing unit that is entitled to vote for directors is determined by dividing the total dollar amount of property taxes imposed in the district by the taxing unit for the preceding tax year by the sum of the total dollar amount of property taxes imposed in the district for that year by each taxing unit that is entitled to vote, by multiplying the quotient by 1,000, and by rounding the product to the nearest whole number. That number is multiplied by the number of directorships to be filled. A taxing unit participating in two or more districts is entitled to vote in each district in which it participates, but only the taxes imposed in a district are used to calculate voting entitlement in that district.

(e) The chief appraiser shall calculate the number of votes to which each taxing unit other than a conservation and reclamation district is entitled and shall deliver written notice to each of those units of its voting entitlement before October 1 of each odd-numbered year. The chief appraiser shall deliver the notice:

(1) to the county judge and each commissioner of the county served by the appraisal district;

(2) to the presiding officer of the governing body of each city or town participating in the appraisal district, to the city manager of each city or town having a city manager, and to the city secretary or clerk, if there is one, of each city or town that does not have a city manager;

(3) to the presiding officer of the governing body of each school district participating in the district and to the superintendent of those school districts; and

(4) to the presiding officer of the governing body of each junior college district participating in the district and to the president, chancellor, or other chief executive officer of those junior college districts.

(f) The chief appraiser shall calculate the number of votes to which each conservation and reclamation district entitled to vote for district directors is entitled and shall deliver written notice to the presiding officer of each conservation and reclamation district of its voting entitlement and right to nominate a person to serve as a director of the district before July 1 of each odd-numbered year.

(g) Each taxing unit other than a conservation and reclamation district that is entitled to vote may nominate by resolution adopted by its governing body one candidate for each position to be filled on the board of directors. The presiding officer of the governing body of the unit shall submit the names of the unit’s nominees to the chief appraiser before October 15.

(h) Each conservation and reclamation district entitled to vote may nominate by resolution adopted by its governing body one candidate for the district’s board of directors. The presiding officer of the conservation and reclamation district’s governing body shall submit the name of the district’s nominee to the chief appraiser before July 15 of each odd-numbered year. Before August 1, the chief appraiser shall prepare a nominating ballot, listing all the nominees of conservation and reclamation districts alphabetically by surname, and shall deliver a copy of the nominating ballot to the presiding officer of the board of directors of each district. The board of directors of each district shall determine its vote by resolution and submit it to the chief appraiser before August 15. The nominee on the ballot with the most votes is the nominee of the conservation and reclamation districts in the appraisal district if the nominee received more than 10 percent of the votes entitled to be cast by all of the conservation and reclamation districts in the appraisal district, and shall be named on the ballot with the candidates nominated by the other taxing units. The chief appraiser shall resolve a tie vote by any method of chance.

(i) If no nominee of the conservation and reclamation districts receives more than 10 percent of the votes entitled to be cast under Subsection (h), the chief appraiser, before September 1, shall notify the presiding officer of the board of directors of each conservation and reclamation district of the failure to select a nominee. Each conservation and reclamation district may submit a nominee by September 15 to the chief appraiser as provided by Subsection (h). The chief appraiser shall submit a second nominating ballot by October 1 to the conservation and reclamation districts as provided by Subsection (h). The conservation and reclamation districts shall submit their votes for nomination before October 15 as provided by Subsection (h). The nominee on the second nominating ballot with the most votes is the nominee of the conservation and reclamation districts in the appraisal district and shall be named on the ballot with the candidates nominated by the other taxing units. The chief appraiser shall resolve a tie vote by any method of chance.

(j) Before October 30, the chief appraiser shall prepare a ballot, listing the candidates whose names were timely submitted under Subsections (g) and, if applicable, (h) or (i) alphabetically according to the first letter in each candidate’s surname, and shall deliver a copy of the ballot to the presiding officer of the governing body of each taxing unit that is entitled to vote.

Text of subsection effective until January 01, 2022

(k) The governing body of each taxing unit entitled to vote shall determine its vote by resolution and submit it to the chief appraiser before December 15. The chief appraiser shall count the votes, declare the five candidates who receive the largest cumulative vote totals elected, and submit the results before December 31 to the governing body of each taxing unit in the district and to the candidates. For purposes of determining the number of votes received by the candidates, the candidate receiving the most votes of the conservation and reclamation districts is considered to have received all of the votes cast by conservation and reclamation districts and the other candidates are considered not to have received any votes of the conservation and reclamation districts. The chief appraiser shall resolve a tie vote by any method of chance.

Text of subsection effective on January 01, 2022

(k) Except as provided by Subsection (k-1), the governing body of each taxing unit entitled to vote shall determine its vote by resolution and submit it to the chief appraiser before December 15. The chief appraiser shall count the votes, declare the five candidates who receive the largest cumulative vote totals elected, and submit the results before December 31 to the governing body of each taxing unit in the district and to the candidates. For purposes of determining the number of votes received by the candidates, the candidate receiving the most votes of the conservation and reclamation districts is considered to have received all of the votes cast by conservation and reclamation districts and the other candidates are considered not to have received any votes of the conservation and reclamation districts. The chief appraiser shall resolve a tie vote by any method of chance.

Text of subsection effective on January 01, 2022

(k-1) This subsection applies only to an appraisal district established in a county with a population of 120,000 or more. The governing body of each taxing unit entitled to cast at least five percent of the total votes must determine its vote by resolution adopted at the first or second open meeting of the governing body that is held after the date the chief appraiser delivers the ballot to the presiding officer of the governing body. The governing body must submit its vote to the chief appraiser not later than the third day following the date the resolution is adopted.

(l) If a vacancy occurs on the board of directors other than a vacancy in the position held by a county assessor-collector serving as a nonvoting director, each taxing unit that is entitled to vote by this section may nominate by resolution adopted by its governing body a candidate to fill the vacancy. The unit shall submit the name of its nominee to the chief appraiser within 45 days after notification from the board of directors of the existence of the vacancy, and the chief appraiser shall prepare and deliver to the board of directors within the next five days a list of the nominees. The board of directors shall elect by majority vote of its members one of the nominees to fill the vacancy.

(m) Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 648, Sec. 5(4), eff. January 1, 2008.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2224, ch. 841, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1980. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., 1st C.S., p. 120, ch. 13, Sec. 15, 167(a), eff. Aug. 14, 1981; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 59, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 270, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1987; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1123, Sec. 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 15, eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 371, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 347, Sec. 4.06, eff. May 31, 1993; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 6.73, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1039, Sec. 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 705, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 629, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 648 (H.B. 1010), Sec. 5(4), eff. January 1, 2008.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1161 (S.B. 359), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 644 (H.B. 988), Sec. 3, eff. January 1, 2022.

 

Cross References:
Changes in board membership or selection, see Sec. 6.031.
County tax assessor-collector, see Sec. 6.21.
Recall of members of board of directors, see Sec. 6.033.
Optional staggered terms for board of directors, see Sec. 6.034.
Meetings, organization, and compensation for board of directors, see Sec. 6.04.
Oath of office, see art. XVI, Sec. 1, Tex. Const.

Notes:
A municipal utility district may not challenge the constitutionality of Sec. 6.03(c), (d), (f), (h), and (i) on equal protection and due process grounds as those rights vest in persons only. Even if individuals joined in a suit with a MUD are considered persons, not district directors, the personal rights of equal protection and due process are not infringed by the Property Tax Code. Colony Municipal Utility District No. 1 of Denton County v. Appraisal District of Denton County, 626 S.W.2d 930 (Tex. App.-Denton 1982, writ ref’d n.r.e.).

Under the provisions of Tax Code Sections 6.03(a) and 6.04(a), an assessor-collector who is a nonvoting member of an appraisal district board is counted in determining the presence of a quorum. Such individual may in turn serve as chairman or secretary of the board. An appraisal district board may determine by rule whether to permit the assessor-collector to make and second motions. Attorney General Opinion DM-160 (1992) is overruled to the extent that it conflicts with this conclusion. Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. JC-0580 (2002).

The common law doctrine of incompatibility does not bar a director of an appraisal district from contracting under Sec. 6.30 of the tax code with a local political subdivision to collect its delinquent taxes. An attorney who has contracted with a taxing unit to collect its delinquent taxes is not an “employee” under Sec. 6.03. Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. JM-1060 (1989). Section 6.036, however, would bar an attorney who collects delinquent taxes for a taxing unit from serving on the board of directors.

The procedure for selecting members of appraisal district boards of directors is not governed by the Texas Election Code. Dates set out in Sec. 6.03(f) and (g) are directory and not mandatory. A written communication concerning votes of the taxing unit must be submitted to the county clerk. The county clerk has neither duty nor authority to determine nominees’ qualifications. A unit may not cast its voting entitlement for a person other than one nominated and named on the ballot, and the county clerk lacks authority to include any such vote in declaring election results. Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. JM-166 (1984).

The first election for board of directors of a property tax appraisal district should be held in Fall 1979, and incorporated villages may participate in the election. A county clerk has no authority to require taxing units to provide information on their tax collection and related matters to determine voting entitlement. The State Property Tax Board lacks authority to make rules clarifying the procedure for electing the appraisal district board of directors. The Harris County Board of School Trustees is not eligible to vote for directors of the appraisal district nor are community junior colleges eligible Tex. Att’y Gen. No. MW-126 (1980).
These codes affect property owners across the state, in both larger and smaller counties including:

  • Galveston County
  • Waller County
  • Fort Bend County
  • Denton County
  • Harris County
  • Bexar County
  • Brazoria County
  • Midland County
  • Lubbock County
  • Hale County
  • Kerr County
  • Uvalde County
  • Val Verde County
  • Rockwall County
  • Calhoun County
  • Ellis County
  • Marion County

The Texas Property Tax Code applies to all property types in Texas including:

  • Country club
  • Office building
  • Drugstore
  • Medical facility
  • Single-tenant retail
  • Mobile home park
  • Greenhouse
  • Commercial building
  • Truck stop
  • Service station

O’Connor & Associates offers property tax services to all property owners of all land uses across Texas.

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