Kaufman County

Property values increased more than $2 billion for 2020 thanks to the booming economy, particularly in the country’s northwest corridor.

The rising appraisals bring the possibility of new revenue to cities, school districts and the county.

The preliminary appraisals were released Friday by Sarah Curtis, the county’s chief appraiser,

This is the second year for a major value increase. Notices went out earlier this month and more than 500 protests already have been filed.

Objections must be filed within 30 days of the appraisal being mailed or by May 15.

The final tax roll will be certified in July. Those are the values that tax entities will use to set their budgets.

Hearings will be held by phone, teleconference or, eventually, in person, Curtis said.

The increase can be a good news-bad news situation. Residents are likely to pay more in taxes, but their cities, school districts and the county will have more to spend on civic projects.

Last year, many taxing entities reduced their tax rate to lessen the rising values’ impact on their property owners’ tax bills. But they also kept enough new money to fund some extra projects.

The county dropped the tax rate from 59 cents per $100 valuation to 53 cents per $100 valuation last year, but still brought in an estimated $4.2 million, or an 8 percent increase, in revenue.

The county could receive an additional $10.8 million in revenue if the tax rate is not lowered this year.

County Judge Hal Richards said he doesn’t know how the county will handle the increase.

“I’m only one of five” commissioners, he said. “But I don’t see the county is going to be in a situation to need another $11 million.”

The county has a long list of road projects, but many of them already are funded, he said.

Improving citizen safety by upgrading law enforcement is always a concern, he said.

The city of Kaufman saw a jump from $446 million last year to $512 million for 2020.

Without changes in the tax rate, the city could see more than a $500,000 revenue increase next year.

Last year the city lowered the tax rate about a penny – from 86 cents to 85 cents per $100 in valuation – after property values rose.

Kaufman ISD is in a budget dispute with the state, so it is unclear how much extra revenue, if any, it could receive. As local revenue goes up, state revenue goes down.

Overall, the county saw $575 million in new construction value, Curtis said. New homes accounted for $440 million of that, Curtis said.

Forney was the economic driver with $285.6 million in new construction, Crandall saw $85 million, Terrell $15 million and Kaufman $11 million

Mobile homes were a surprising factor.

Changes in mobile home financing have made them easier to buy. Existing mobile homes, already connected to water and electricity, have seen a tremendous increase in value and sometimes are selling for as much as new prefabricated homes.

“Mobile homes are going up an amazing amount,” she said.

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