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City, County leaders seek property value freeze to mitigate COVID-19 woes

Published on Friday, March 20, 2020

City, County leaders seek property value freeze to mitigate COVID-19 woes

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Laura Mayes, City of San Antonio (210) 207-1337
Michelle Vigil, City of San Antonio (210) 207-8172

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SAN ANTONIO (March 20, 2019) — Bexar County and City of San Antonio and Bexar County elected leaders have asked Gov. Greg Abbott to suspend 2020 property tax appraisals, freezing values at the 2019 level. 

The request was made in a joint letter to Gov. Abbott from County Judge Nelson Wolff and Mayor Ron Nirenberg along with Bexar County Appraisal District Board members Councilman Roberto C. Treviño and Commissioner Sergio “Chico” Rodriguez.

“This year, property values are expected to rise by 7 percent to percent,” the officials wrote. “In this evolving health crisis, we as government leaders, should be looking for ways to  appropriately mitigate the severe economic impacts to every segment of  our society.”

“COVID-19 is dealing a major economic blow to San Antonians as well as Texans across the state,” said Mayor Nirenberg. “Suspending this year’s appraisals is a good first step in providing much needed tax relief.”

Judge Wolff said, “As government leaders, we’re looking at this crisis with a long-term view and are committed to supporting our residents. We requested that Gov. Abbott suspend property reappraisals statewide for 2020 on behalf of homeowners in Bexar County who might find it increasingly difficult to pay their bills, so they have one less thing to worry about.”

“We’re in the eye of an open-ended crisis. It’s extremely important that, as leaders of our City, we provide relief in matters that we can control and not add another level of strain and uncertainty to what people are already experiencing,” said Councilman Treviño. “We have a chance to do what’s right for our community and provide a sense of security and certainty in the midst of this, especially to our most vulnerable residents that property taxes impact — renters. Renters face the greatest economic hardship in our City and we want to provide whatever tools possible for a social safety net.”

Treviño added, “Most importantly, this does not mean that that people can’t protest their taxes. This is still an available option and people can protest at any time with no restrictions or restraints.” 

Commissioner Rodriguez said, “This was a team effort from your elected officials, school districts and community representatives that came together, recognizing the financial impact this public health disaster has caused, to find solutions and offer answers. Our first priority is that our residents are safe, and we’re grateful residents have taken this seriously and practiced social distancing.

“With support and input our Tax Assessor-Collector and school districts, we asked the Governor to consider this measure which would help property taxes stay as low as possible and offer stability in a time of uncertainty to protect our residents from added financial stress,” Commissioner Rodriguez said. “We hope to get a response from the Governor by April 8 and will continue working hard on your behalf until we’ve all gotten through this.”

The officials also noted that considering the restrictions in place to fight the spread of COVID—19, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for appraisals districts to meet the requirements top certify appraisal rolls. A copy of the letter is linked here.  

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Author: Melanie Morales (GPA)

Categories: City News, Health, COVID