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Letters – Property owner blasts CCAD over land values

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To the Editor:

Since August 2008, the US economy has declined into a deep recession and depression unlike anything since the American and World depression of the 1930s. The stock market has lost over 50 percent of its previous value.

Businesses and banks have filed for bankruptcy. Bank of America, Citicorp and AIG and many other large US banks would be in bank

ruptcy similar to Lehman Brothers if it were not for the TARP bailout of our Federal government. There are fewer qualified potential buyers and literally no local financing available for commercial properties.

Yet, in the face of this economic situation, our local Caldwell County Appraisal District (CCAD) has increased commercial land values approximately 18 percent for 2009 as compared with the prior year. When discussed with personnel in the CCAD, I was initially informed they did not care about the depression or the bankruptcy of GM, Chrysler or various bank failures.

In downtown Lockhart, we currently have at least 15 vacant commercial business buildings. Is the CCAD attempting to drive those remaining businesses out of town? Commercial property owners will be forced to raise rents to their tenants to pay for these increased commercial land values. CCAD claims higher values don’t equal higher taxes, but when was the last time you experienced a decrease in taxes paid to local tax entities.

Higher values mean higher taxes!
CCAD claims this was caused by sales of commercial property. My recent experience reflects actual sales being used in the appraisal process date back to 2006 and 2007. Does anyone other than the CCAD actually believe commercial land values have increased since August 2008?

CCAD records reflect commercial land values in Lockhart at Jan. 1, 2009, increased 18 percent over the values for the same properties reflected at Jan. 1, 2008. Some land values for properties on the same city block, zoned commercial medium business, are three and four times the land values of similar commercial properties. On the Square, land is valued at $9 – $12 per square foot. Areas adjacent to the Square are valued at $3 – $7 per square foot, and some land values, classified by CCAD as residential/historical, for the same commercial medium business zoned property is valued at $1 – $2 per square foot.

Contact your local elected official, county commissioner, school board trustee, city council representative and those appointed by these officials (i.e., the CCAD Board of Directors). These are the people who select those who run the CCAD.

These are the people who are responsible for this increase in commercial land values.

These are the people you should hold accountable when our Lockhart commercial area becomes a ghost town because no one can afford the increase in land values and the resulting increases in taxes and rent.

W. R. Cline
Lockhart

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