After taking office I quickly learned that there’s one galvanizing issue for elected officials throughout Rockwall County, which is the outrageous assessments on the property values. The outrage is tied to the Rockwall County Appraisal District [RCAD], an agency of the state that has progressively loosened itself from the constraints of legislative accountability to act with absolute power & authority.
We’ve all become frustrated by the methods they employ to evaluate and compare properties, which sometimes seem as inconsistent as comparing apples to bowling balls.
However, what’s utterly contemptible to most is the property tax appeal process. What was established to protect taxpayers from the tyranny of an unrestrained and unaccountable bureaucracy, now better reflects a kangaroo court of the RCAD.
In fact, I’ve yet to hear from a citizen whose gone through the appeal process that feels that it was worth their time to do so because ultimately, the most a taxpayer can hope for is the original settlement offer made by RCAD.
It’s akin to what colonists experienced when agents of King George continued to arbitrarily increase levies without care or consideration to those being impacted by it.
Today’s publication of Rockwall Mayor Jim Pruitt’s Open Letter to Taxpayers of Rockwall County is a revealing treatise of a cultural mindset that reflects what amounts to dictatorial arrogance. When Mayor Pruitt shared his letter with me before its publication I saw it as empirical validation to our concerns of a government agency run amuck.
The state has worked to provide assurances that the actions of governmental bodies, from meetings that take place in our state capital to a Homeowners Association, are open and transparent, which is the genesis of the public notice requirements. While the sheer number of public notices posted online and in local newspapers have become white noise for most, there remains a handful who stay vigilant in keeping track of what’s going on, especially in instances like the ones that Mayor Pruitt highlights, where an agency has a history of running roughshod over elected representatives of the people.
That’s why RCAD’s failure to post notice is neither a minor offense nor a skilled attorney’s (which Pruitt happens to be) tactic to trip up an agency on a technicality but is further evidence of a systematic effort to deny taxpayer’s their voice!
Because of this clear violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act, I believe that the taxpayers of Rockwall County have legal standing to argue that RCAD’s budget is invalid. Just as our city would have to do if we violated the law, RCAD should be required to start its budget process again!
I am joining Mayor Pruitt in his efforts to demand that the State of Texas recognizes this violation and act accordingly!
I further wish to express gratitude to Mayor Pruitt whose Mayoral compensation is equal to that of most Mayor’s in Rockwall County including mine ($0.00), for taking time to investigate the facts and represent the best interest of taxpayers throughout Rockwall County.
Mayor Pruitt exemplifies the actions of a true representative of the people!
If you are a citizen of McLendon-Chisholm and agree with Mayor Pruitt, then please take a moment to send him a short email message telling him so. Remember that it’s just as important to voice support for actions of statesmen like him as it is to express frustration when they take the wrong path.
Mayor Pruitt’s email is: JimPruitt@rockwall.com