Several downtown businesses - The Twisted Twig, Caylor Creek and Soul to Soul - have closed their doors in the last year.
It's more than a struggling economy, according to former business owners who have pointed a finger at the Somervell County Appraisal District. They have said if their appraisals hadn't skyrocketed, their doors could have remained open.
On Monday, Chief Appraiser Wes Rollen spoke to Glen Rose City Council about the issue. Following concern expressed to county and city officials, Rollen was invited to explain the appraisal process, CAD's responsibility and why downtown saw such a drastic jump in evaluations in one year.
Rollen said the process is heavily monitored by the state comptroller's office, and law requires appraisals to be 100 percent of market value with a five percent margin for error.
To make sure appraisals are in line with the market, local appraisal districts are monitored by the state comptroller through biennial reviews. Somervell County has been studied by the state three times since Rollen joined the office five years ago, and passed each evaluation.
Looking at the situation downtown, Rollen said evaluations in the area were down, and the CAD had to play catch up to get the values as close to 100 percent of the market value as possible.
"It's more than fair to say appraisals were behind," Rollen said.
Elaborating on the issue Wednesday, he said looking at a three-year period, 2009-12, downtown saw the sale of eight or nine properties for a price that was "considerably higher" than their appraised value.
"When we have such a large percentage sell in such a short period of time and sell for more than what they are appraised at, we're forced to go and reappraise the area," Bollen said.
Looking at a property in the 100 block of Southwest Barnard Street, the difference in taxable value between 2011 and 2012 showed a difference of more than $160,000, according to online records at isouthwestdata.com.
In 2011, the taxable value was $54,050, the following year it was assessed at $256,770.
In the 100 block of Northeast Barnard, another property had an assessed value of $65,990 in 2011. The assessment increased to $150,000 in 2012.
Property owners are left with few options. In the case they lease the facility to business owners, they can increase rent and hope the business can afford the hike. Or they can maintain the existing lease rate and pay the increase out of their own pockets.
Unfortunately, the closure of businesses does nothing to adjust appraisals.