Though few people particularly enjoy paying taxes, some of those who feel they are paying too much approached Cooke County’s central appraisal district over the last two months to get their property values down.

Bill Daering, chairman of the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) of the Cooke County Appraisal District (CCAD), gave a brief review of actions taken by the board during tax protest season.

In all, 890 protests were filed with the ARB — a citizen panel which decides whether or not to adjust property values — by taxpayers not satisfied with their appraisals, and 427 protests were withdrawn.

About 139 were withdrawn after changes were made prior to the ARB hearing, and 196 were “no shows” to the hearings.

The number of cases heard by the ARB was 196. Of those, 63 changes were granted and on 86 of the protests no changes were made.

All but one of them, according to Chief Appraiser Doug Smithson, were requests to lower property values.

Daering said this year’s ARB hearings were calmer and speedier than usual.

“Things went pretty well this year,” he said, noting a different table arrangement and a ceiling-mounted video projector which assisted in presenting tax data.

He said there was a less confrontational attitude at the hearings than from years past.

“Certainly, the ARB is trying to be more professional — things are so much more friendly when everyone’s being civil and not butting heads.”

Daering said he hopes in the future work will be done on evaluating the value of land in the Interstate Highway 35 corridor.

“Speculators are buying up property,” he said. “We can increase the tax base by doing a better job of evaluating those properties.”

He also suggested a tighter schedule due to the high number of taxpayers who did not show up during their scheduled appointment.

Daering called this year’s ARB “a pretty diverse group” representing most of the county, geographically speaking.

The members are: Daering, president; Guy George, vice president; David Bowman, secretary; Dave Flusche and George Sparkman. The members are paid a small salary for their services, whereas the Board of Directors are not paid.

The ARB met 16 times this year, he said, and four of the members attended a tax seminar in Fort Worth.

The last meeting of the ARB was Friday to officially certify the tax rolls.

“There are still some other odds and ends,” Daering said. “And some of the cases are still open.”

Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at andyhoguegdr@ntin.net

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