Dallam County Appraisal District
Appraisal Standards Review Follow-Up Report
Mr. Gene Rahll, Board Chairman
Mr. Edward G. Carter, Chief Appraiser
Dallam County Appraisal District
P.O. Box 579
Dalhart, Texas 79022-0579
Dear Chairman Rahll and Chief Appraiser Carter:
This letter constitutes the Comptroller’s follow-up report of the appraisal standards review (ASR) of Dallam County Appraisal District (Dallam CAD) released in August 2006. We commend the cooperation of Dallam CAD’s board, chief appraiser and staff in conducting this follow-up review.
CADs play an integral part in setting property values because they have the statutory responsibility for determining local property values, which in turn affect funding to public schools.
The ASR made 13 recommendations for changes to help Dallam CAD achieve accurate local value in the annual Property Value Study and improve operations. The Comptroller acknowledges the work Dallam CAD has performed over the last year. The CAD has completed recommendations 1, 2, 7, 10 and 12. These completed recommendations have assisted the CAD in improving its staffing, management and appraisal practices.
We reviewed the implementation of the recommendations, and while work is in progress, Dallam CAD has not fully implemented recommendations 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 13. Attached is more detail on what the CAD still needs to do.
The Comptroller’s office will continue to monitor CAD operations and require quarterly reports until it has implemented all recommendations. Dallam CAD must implement the recommendations within one year.
This letter is available on our Window on State Government Web site at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/cadreports/asr/dallam01/.
I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.
cc: Superintendent and Board of Trustees, Dalhart Consolidated Independent School District; Texline Independent
Dallam CAD Board of Directors
What Remains to Be Done
The Comptroller’s office will continue to monitor the CAD’s progress toward meeting the state’s legal requirements. The following outlines specific steps the CAD still needs to take.
Develop a job description and an objective set of evaluation measures, and use them to evaluate the chief appraiser annually.
Board minutes since the initial ASR do not show that the board considered or adopted a job description for the chief appraiser or performed an evaluation of the chief appraiser. The chief appraiser said he is in discussions with the board on what they wish to include in the evaluation instrument. By no later than Dec. 31, 2007, the CAD needs to provide the Comptroller’s office a copy of a job description and evaluation measures for the chief appraiser and board minutes indicating their approval.
Negotiate a written depository contract as required by Section 6.09 of the Tax Code.
A solicitation for a bank depository bid is on the board’s July 2007 meeting agenda, and the board anticipates accepting a bid at its September 2007 meeting. The CAD should provide a copy of the accepted contract and minutes of the board’s acceptance no later than Oct. 31, 2007.
Revise the professional appraisal services contract to include dates by which the appraisal firm will perform its services, as well as a list of all property the firm is responsible for appraising.
The board approved a new contract with the appraisal services firm on April 3, 2007 for the years 2007 and 2008. The new contract includes a new sentence that requires “Appraisal Notices will be delivered to Appraisal District at a time set by the Chief Appraiser.” It also amends the payment schedule to include performance language. Three other benchmarks are included for completion of 1) appraisals and mailing Notices of Appraised Value; 2) Appraisal Review Board hearings; and 3) Certification of 2007 values. The new contract also added a provision stating the “Appraisal District will review performance of appraisal firm on or before September 15 of each year in determining whether to appropriate funds for this contract for a subsequent year.”
The contract does not make any changes to the properties the appraisal firm will appraise and thus does not fully address the recommendation. The new contract only includes general descriptions of minerals, utilities and personal property the firm will appraise. This provision is the same as in the previous contract. April 3 board minutes state, “The contract covers the appraisal of Mineral and Utility properties, Feedlots, Dairies and The Cheese Factory.” The contract, however, does list the latter three items.
To comply with the recommendation, the CAD should amend its contract with the appraisal services firm to describe which properties it will be required to appraise fully or provide a letter to the appraisal firm documenting which specific properties the appraisal firm will appraise. The CAD should submit a copy of this amended contract or letter, along with board minutes indicating approval, to the Comptroller’s office no later than Jan. 31, 2008.
Develop a board of directors' policies and procedures manual.
Board minutes since the initial ASR do not show the board considered or adopted a board of directors policies and procedures manual. The chief appraiser said he hoped to present a manual for the board’s consideration at its December 2007 meeting. The CAD must forward a copy of the manual, as well as board minutes approving it, to the Comptroller by no later than Jan. 31, 2008.
Include local procedures and practices in the CAD's appraisal manuals.
Board minutes since the initial ASR do not show the board considered or adopted local procedures and practices in its appraisal manuals. The chief appraiser said he is working on this recommendation, and he plans to present his findings for the board’s consideration at its December 2007 meeting. The CAD must forward a copy of the manual, as well as board minutes approving it, to the Comptroller by no later than Jan. 31, 2008.
Appoint an agricultural advisory board and develop local guidelines for productivity valuations.
The chief appraiser is contacting local citizens willing to serve on an Agricultural Advisory Board, and he hopes to present a list of candidates for board approval at the September 2007 meeting. Evidence of compliance with this recommendation, namely a list of the new Ag board members and board minutes confirming their appointment, should be submitted to the Comptroller by no later than Oct. 31, 2007.
Develop written operating policies and procedures.
The chief appraiser is working on writing operating policies and procedures and plans to present them to the board for approval in January 2008. The CAD should provide the Comptroller, no later than Feb. 29, 2008, copies of these policies and procedures, along with board minutes indicating their approval.
Develop a budget, a timeline and a project plan to comply with Comptroller Rule 9.3059 concerning electronic appraisal roll submission (EARS).
The chief appraiser indicated the new computer assisted mass appraisal software program allows the CAD to submit, for the first time, the Electronic Property Transfer Submission (EPTS). To comply with this recommendation, the CAD must submit the EARS data by Nov. 1, 2007.