Mike Jones won his appeal of the county property tax assessed on his business last year and saved himself a little over $300, but said this week his effort was more about the principle involved than the money itself.
Jones, a veterinarian and former Glen Rose City Council member, said his business — Glen Rose Veterinary Clinic — is the second-oldest on Highway 67 in Glen Rose in terms of continuous single ownership. He said he opened his veterinary practice in that location 34 years ago, after serving as a vet in the Army from 1979-1984. Only Dairy Queen has a longer history in the same spot with the same owner, Jones told the Glen Rose Reporter Monday afternoon during an interview in his office.
After Jones saw that he was billed $1,142 last year by the Central Appraisal District (CAD) for his business property on a quarter of an acre at 1404 NE Big Bend Trail, he filed an appeal with the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). The ARB is separate and independent from the CAD.
When he met with the ARB on Oct. 30, 2017 and presented his information about his business and property, Jones received the good news that he could settle for $832 — $310 less than the original tax bill.
“That doesn’t sound like much but it was the principle of the issue,” Jones stated in a text message Tuesday. “We currently are paying over $3,000 in property taxes on this facility.”
Monday in his office, Jones explained that winning his appeal wasn’t just about his own situation, but he was thinking of the community as well.
“I was ecstatic because I was vindicated in my thoughts that it was overpriced. It was a wonderful feeling to know that I was able to make a difference — and have the potential to make a difference for other people. I’m going to help as many businesses as I can to save money on their tax bill.
“The only was to keep government in check is to hold back on the purse. I won a significant case, in my opinion. To me, that means a world of things. I talked to several other business owners, and they were excited. They were skeptical that I could win.
“On Highway 67 they affected values of the land only by $4 million. In real terms, that means about $196,000 an acre. Collectively, it raised taxes on 67 by $80,000. That money left, and half of it went to Austin. That’s passed on to consumers, which hurts the people who shop here.”
Jones had said previously that the CAD used comparable property values for sales of lots in nearby locations, but claimed there were no similar examples to justify the increase.
Somervell County Central Appraisal District’s Chief Appraiser Wes Rollen said on Tuesday that there are usually between 50 and 150 in any given year who notify his office that they want to appeal their tax assessment. But, Rollen added, less than 50 actually show up for their appointment with the ARB, and less than 20 percent of that number are successful in their appeal. Rolen had told the Reporter last year that only four business owners located on Highway 67 in Glen Rose appealed their county tax bill and only two came to a hearing.
“Most of the time, it all gets worked out informally,” said Rollen, who previously noted that the last time he checked, Somervell County ranked as the eighth-lowest tax rate in Texas. “It’s value decisions, and we take in all the information available to us.”
Jones said of his presentation of documented facts to the ARB, “The law is black and white. When you use logic and facts coherently to somebody, it’s hard to argue that.”
Jones said he is encouraging other business owners in town to consider appealing this year’s tax assessment, which they should receive in the next few weeks. He said he would even help them by making the appeal presentation to the ARB himself, despite the amount of personal time that could take.
“It is work,” Jones said. “I am willing to represent these people against the Central Appraisal District, with the intent of saving them money. If I save them money, I’d like to get compensated some.”
Jones suggested that if he does represent any business and is successful appealing the tax bill for a lower rate, he would probably do so for 25 percent of the total savings gained by the business.