Tax appraisers in Port Aransas have been counting up some pretty disturbing numbers.
Hurricane Harvey took quite a toll on homes and businesses in Port Aransas, but it also took away a significant amount of property value -- as much as $700 million worth. Of course, that valuation is what local taxing entities depend on to generate tax revenue.
Homes and businesses took massive hits from Harvey in more ways than physical damage.
"Last month we were looking at maybe $300 million," Chief Appraiser Ronnie Canales said. "By the time we get done, you're going to be looking close to $700 million."
Canales said it took nearly a month to appraise property in Port Aransas taking into account the value before and after the hurricane to determine what it's now worth.
"We basically looked at everything as of Jan. 1 in September, anything that's there between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31. That's what you get taxed on," Canales said.
Canales said the district uses previous data and other methods to determine a property's value; but after Harvey, he said they actually took to the streets to reconsider the valuations in the wake of that giant storm.
"We strictly stay on the outside of the house. We measure on the outside. We see what it looks like, and see the rest of the neighborhood and that's how we arrive at a number," Canales said.
In Nueces County, 60 cents per $100 of a home's value is taxed. In Port Aransas, decreased property valuations will lower the tax bill for property owners.
Canales said since so many hotels and condominiums in Port Aransas require rebuilding, property values as a whole are not producing as much tax revenue as before.
"You might have 100 units, you're not just going to do just one, you're going to do the whole deal," Canales said.
With a drop in value, the amount of tax revenue going back to schools and other local taxing entities will decrease significantly; but Canales believes Port Aransas residents are doing what they must right now to rebuild physically and fiscally.
"These people are doing what they need to do, and it's very commendable for what they've done," Canales said.
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