Appraisal District seeks new home
By LPR Staff
After several years of renting space from the Lockhart Independent School District, the Caldwell County Appraisal (CCAD) is finally taking steps to acquire a home of their own.
In a lengthy presentation to the Lockhart City Council on Tuesday evening, Chief Appraiser Mary LaPoint explained the need for the
new building, which will allow the CCAD to enhance not only customer service, but employee safety.
“Right now, the public has access to the work area,” LaPoint explained. “One of our employees had a situation where she was a little rattled, because she was doing her work and suddenly a property owner was standing behind her, starting to ask questions.”
LaPoint said the employee was not in any danger and the situation did not escalate into anything threatening, but the employee was shaken just the same.
“Our design also allows for a public research area where property owners can come in and do their own research,” she said. “Presently, if someone wants to do research, they have to use an employee computer, and that keeps the employee from doing their work during that time.”
In June, the CCAD Board of Directors entered a resolution to purchase the property at 211 and 213 Bufkin Ln. for approximately $96,000. That location, LaPoint said, is ideal for CCAD and the services they provide.
“I can’t say enough how much I like that this location is across the street from the Police Department,” she said. “There are times, because we deal with property owners, and sometimes those property owners aren’t very happy, that we need to call the police or the Sheriff’s Department if they are available, to ensure the safety of our staff with angry property owners.”
Additionally, the size of the property will allow for additional parking. In their current location on San Jacinto Street, CCAD only offers five parking spaces, apart from staff and employee parking. The new location will have 28 additional parking spaces, as well as a drive-thru window for taxpayers to conduct business without leaving their vehicles.
Under state law, the CCAD is required to engage in a lengthy process of planning and bid review; the process has taken nearly two years. The next hurdle for the CCAD is securing approval of the purchase from at least 75 percent of the taxing entities the District serves, because each of those taxing entities are responsible for a portion of the District’s budget, and will therefore have a portion of ownership in the property and the new building.
The $1.3 million price tag on the project will also be split between the taxing entities.
As of Monday, two of the 26 taxing entities served by the CCAD (the City of Lockhart and Waelder ISD) have approved the proposition. Once construction is approved, LaPoint said she expected the actual construction of the building was expected to take 8-10 months, and would use largely local contractors.
Follow future editions of the Post-Register for more information on the CCAD construction project as the proposal moves forward.