Sunday, May 26, 2024

TAD holds first public elections

Posted

For the very first time, Tarrant County voters will have the opportunity to elect directors to three newly created seats in the Tarrant Appraisal District. Tax appraisal districts set the taxable value of homes and businesses across each of Texas’ counties. Until now, TAD directors were elected by a number of “taxing entities” like school boards and city councils. Recent legislation has expanded the number of directors serving on boards in counties exceeding 75,000 in population from five to eight members.

Eric Morris, Sayeda Bilqees Syed and Trae Fowler are running for Director-At-Large Place 1. Callie Rigney and Eric B. Crile are running for Director-At-Large Place 2. Chuck Kelley, Matt Bryant and Lee Henderson are running for Director-At-Large Place 3.

Election Day is Saturday, May 4, and early voting runs Monday, April 22 through Tuesday, April 30. The Tri-County Reporter asked the candidates vying for new TAD seats to tell us about themselves and their goals. Check out their responses listed in alphabetical order. Candidates who did not submit a response by the publication deadline are not listed.

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Name: Charles "Chuck" Kelley

Position you are running for:

Tarrant Appraisal District Board of Directors, At Large Place 3

Occupation:

IT Computer Architect / Consultant — 36 years

In 100 words or less, tell us about your education.

BS in computer and information sciences, Trinity University, San Antonio

In 100 words or less, tell us about your community Involvement.

Thirteen years, route safety captain, Susan G. Koman DFW 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk; two years, Colleyville Planning and Zoning Board, six years (two terms) Colleyville City Council, Place 5

In 100 words or less, tell us about your family.

I have lived in Colleyville with my wife, Dee, for 25 years. We have a daughter, Hope, who is 22 and attends College in Denton.

In 300 words or less, describe why you are running for Tarrant Appraisal District, and what experience you are bringing to the position.

I’m Chuck Kelley and I am running for Tarrant Appraisal Board in Place 3. I am a 30+ year resident of Tarrant County and 25-year resident of Colleyville. I am seeking to be your representative on the TAD board as I believe I am the most qualified person in the race. I have been involved in Colleyville leadership for the past eight years, two years on Planning and Zoning Board and since 2018, as Colleyville City Council. Over the last six years, Colleyville has had a laser focus on our city tax rate, lowering it each year until we now have the lowest tax rate in our region. We were also able to expand services, including funding six School Resource Officers to staff our schools. We did this by running the city like a business, emphasizing spending management and transparency.

I am also an Information Technology consultant / leader with 36 years of experience designing and deploying cutting edge applications for companies like Citigroup, Barclay’s, AT&T, NetApp and others. I am the only candidate that has this experience and can critically look at the security and applications of TAD and make sure we have resolved the cybersecurity and applications issues that have plagued TAD since 2016. There have been major issues that have caused the TAD Website and systems to be down during the appraisal appeals process over the last two years and currently with the brand new website ransomware attack March 21.

 In 300 words or less, what goals do you have that you feel will help serve residents in your district.

I have several priorities:

  1. Full audit of all IT applications, focusing on security, resilience, replication, transparency and ease of use. We need to reach out to the Top 5 Appraisal Districts in the state to see what systems and security that they have in place.
  2. The Appraisal and Appraisal Protest processes need a full transparent review so that it is easily usable for all taxpayers, able to understand how it works, and how to view their appraisals as well as contest their appraisals. My background in IT gives me the ability to define and document processes and translate them into computer systems.
  3. Educational outreach — Develop a series of educational programs that can be presented in person or by video to help taxpayers to understand how their appraisals are calculated and how to navigate the Appraisal Protest process complete with worksheets and what documentation you need to have a successful appeal. We need to train a group of advocates that can go into the community and help taxpayers come up with all the documentation that is needed to navigate the Protest process.

Name: Eric B. Crile

Position you are running for:

Tarrant Appraisal District--Place 2

Occupation:

Firefighter

In 100 words or less, tell us about your education.

I have a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg majoring in Administration of Justice. I have also attended Dallas County Community College to obtain my paramedic license.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your community Involvement.

I've served on my community homeowners association board of directors as treasurer and president. I was also appointed to an advisory board for Fort Worth. It is the CCPD:Partners with a Shared Mission advisory board.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your family.

I got married in the summer of 2021 to my wife Jennifer. We got married on the beach in Key West surrounded by about 30 of our closest friends and family. I have a beautiful stepdaughter, Jillian, who is finishing up 8th grade this year. She loves to play volleyball and like any other teen be on the phone with her friends. My wife and I are expecting our first child together. It is a boy so I am super excited for that day. And we have 2 labradoodles: Charley and Walther.

In 300 words or less, describe why you are running for Tarrant Appraisal District, and what experience you are bringing to the position.

I am running for the appraisal board because I understand what it is like for the majority property owners who have dealings with the appraisal district. What do I mean by that statement? I have one property, and I routinely protest my values due to what I believe is an overvaluation of my property when compared to other similar properties. I want to bring transparency to the appraisal process. I want property owners to understand how the district arrives at its numbers, and when you don’t agree with those numbers, I want you to understand how to protest them. You shouldn’t have to pay someone to protest your values as a property owner. You shouldn’t have to find a real estate agent to obtain MLS data to protest your values. Whatever tools are available to the district’s appraisers should be available to you, the taxpayer because after all, those tools are paid for by us, the taxpayer. I want to ensure uniform and equitable appraisals, which is the function of the appraisal district. I want to work with the new chief appraiser and the new board to continue to bring about a culture of change from the previous administration. And exemptions from property tax burdens. I want to ensure that all who qualify for exemptions are receiving those exemptions because that is the one area to fall squarely within the responsibilities of the appraisal district that will have a direct effect on lowering property taxes. We need to get the information out to the property owners. My career has instilled in me a problem solvers mentality, and right now TAD is experiencing many problems. I believe I can help solve these problems. I’m here to advocate on behalf of all the taxpayers and property owners in Tarrant County.

In 300 words or less, what goals do you have that you feel will help serve residents in your district?

I have many goals and I have elaborated on some of them in the previous question. My top 3 goals for TAD are as follows, #1 Solve the software and IT issues. The district needs new valuation software. The software in place is a disaster and has been for some time. It is my understanding that the new chief appraiser is looking to replace the software in 2025 and I would like to help ensure that comes to fruition. As for the IT issues, TAD needs to do all that it can to stop being hacked and exposing taxpayer information to nefarious individuals and groups. It needs to invest and have robust cybersecurity software, annual IT audits, and ensure it has excellent cybersecurity insurance. It needs to have redundant systems so that if a hack were to ever occur again, they can be back up and running in little to no time. #2 Create and foster an environment that is friendly to the taxpayer. It should not be an “us against them” mentality. Where “us” is TAD and “them” is the taxpayer. That does not mean everyone always agrees, but TAD should be doing all that it can to reach a remedy most favorable to the taxpayer within the limits of the law. #3 Educational outreach. TAD needs to be getting the information out to the homeowners and business owners about TAD’s role in the process of property taxes and what exemptions are available to people. Because after all, you don’t know what you don’t know. TAD needs to partner with the taxing entities and when the entities put on information events for their citizens about city departments, TAD needs to be there as well for the citizens and providing the information. Thank you for this opportunity.

Name: Sayeda Bilqees Syed

Position you are running for: Tarrant Appraisal District, Board of Directors, Place 1

Occupation: Engineer

In 100 words or less, tell us about your education.

Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your community Involvement.

Experience Serving the Community;

  • Tarrant Appraisal Review Board (2019 ~ 2021)
  • Colleyville Planning Zoning Commission (2019 ~ Present)
  • Colleyville Capital Improvement Advisory Committee (2019 ~ Present)
  • Colleyville Metroport Teen Court Advisory Board (2017 ~ Present)
  • Colleyville Architectural Review Commission (2018 ~ 2020)
  • Colleyville Zoning Board of Adjustment (2018 ~ 2019)
  • Colleyville Sign Board of Appeals (2018 ~ 2019)

In 100 words or less, tell us about your family.

I married my husband Adnan Syed for over 17 years, he is the clinical Pharmacist at Parkland Hospital in Dallas TX. We have an 11 years old son Senan Syed (5th grader) and 8 years old daughter Safa Syed (3rd grader). Both of my kids attend Colleyville Elementary school in Grapevine — Colleyville Independent School District (GCISD).

I came to USA in 2007, became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2011. I am Tarrant County resident for over 16 years and have been a resident of Bedford, Fort Worth (where I bought my first house in 2009) and Colleyville TX (2013).

In 300 words or less, describe why you are running for Tarrant Appraisal District, and what experience you are bringing to the position.

While serving on the Tarrant Appraisal Review Board, I saw many issues that need to be addressed, such as over valuations, inappropriate removal of exemptions (homestead, agriculture, 65 & over or disability), ignoring evidence provided by property owners, losing good appraisers, inaccuracies in split-zoning cases of properties in 2 separate tax entities, and a disconnect with the taxpayer.

My experience on Tarrant Appraisal Review Board (TARB) and city’s boards/ commission is extensive. Problem solving and thinking outside the box is my strength. I am the only candidate running for Tarrant Appraisal District board of directors who has experience working with the TAD, helping property owners/ business owners with their appraisal issues.

I am an energetic taxpayer advocate, who will always fight for property owners’ rights.

In 300 words or less, what goals do you have that you feel will help serve residents in your district?

I plan to work with the Chief Appraiser and my fellow board members to drive change within TAD. I will consult with taxpayers and other experts to make sure that all changes make it easier for taxpayers. My overarching goal is for TAD to provide a better, fairer, more transparent service and long needed relief to taxpayers. People are frustrated and being taxed out of their homes. We also need audibility to ensure fairness in the appraisals and appraisal review processes.

I plan to work for real and lasting comprehensive appraisal reform that touches every aspect of the service that TAD provides to residential and commercial property owners as well as the several of taxing entities that TAD serves. My top priority is to serve taxpayers and fight for their rights.

As TAD board member, I will offer solutions for issues that are not only effecting Tarrant County property owners but the rest of the 253 CADs in the great state of Texas. I will advocate and take my proposal to Austin on behalf of Tarrant County residents.

  1. Decrease the appraisal cap for residential homestead from 10% per year to 1-2% per year.
  2. Currently, the state law says all taxable property is appraised at its 100% of market value.

I would like the State to decrease it from 100% to 80% of market value. This proposal will not only benefit for residential homestead but also non-homestead residential properties, commercial properties and business personal properties as well.

Name:

Trae Fowler

Position you are running for:

Tarramt Appraisal Board Place 1

Occupation:

Self Employed — Owner North Texas Group (Construction and Real Estate Investment)

In 100 words or less, tell us about your education.

Graduate of Haltom High School 1984, BA English Texas Tech 1989, BA Communications University of Texas Arlington 1990

In 100 words or less, tell us about your community Involvement.

As a former council member and Mayor of Haltom City, I've been deeply engaged in community involvement, advocating for streamlined processes and facilitating transparent communication. I've worked closely with residents, local businesses and community organizations to address concerns, foster collaboration and ensure that the voices of all stakeholders are heard. My tenure has been marked by a commitment to inclusivity, responsiveness, and proactive engagement, laying the groundwork for effective leadership on the Tarrant County Appraisal District board.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your family.

Our family dynamic is centered on multiple areas, including best interest of the community, our work, our son's education and extracurricular activities at Fort Worth Christian, and creating a balance of our family’s engagements outside of day-to-day life.

In 300 words or less, describe why you are running for TAD Board, and what experience you are bringing to the position.

With over three decades of property ownership across residential, commercial and industrial sectors, I've developed a nuanced understanding of the real estate market's complexities and the pivotal role of appraisal decisions. My tenure as Mayor and council member, marked by a commitment to streamlined processes and community engagement, positions me as the best candidate to lead on the Tarrant County Appraisal District board. I pledge to prioritize efficient policies that amplify property owners' rights, laying the foundation for a prosperous future.

Transparency and accountability are non-negotiable in governance. I'll champion open meetings, comprehensive annual reports and stringent ethical standards to ensure integrity within the Tarrant County Appraisal District. Additionally, clear performance metrics for staff, proactive stakeholder engagement, and educational resources will cultivate trust and fairness, ensuring transparency and equity in the appraisal process.

To uphold fairness and equity, I advocate for objective criteria and standardized methodologies in property valuation. By considering market trends, property conditions, and comparable sales data, we can minimize subjective biases and guarantee equitable treatment for all property owners.

As a board member, I'll tirelessly advocate for taxpayer interests. This involves launching public awareness campaigns, engaging state legislators for property tax reform and fostering partnerships with local officials and advocacy groups. By prioritizing fairness and affordability, we can create a more equitable appraisal process.

Addressing challenges like transitioning to biannual appraisals and enhancing IT infrastructure demands proactive leadership and collaboration. I'll advocate for legislative changes, modernize IT systems and develop educational materials to ensure fairness, transparency and efficiency in property valuation. Ultimately, our efforts will serve the best interests of property owners, fostering a thriving community for generations to come.