From Parker County Daily Post, Written by Matthew J. Sanchez, 09/22/15 –
WEATHERFORD – The Parker County Commissioners Court convened in a special meeting on Monday morning. The court met to discuss any and all appropriate actions to be taken in regard to the following lawsuit: Weatherford Texas Hospital Company, LLC and the Parker County Hospital District (plaintiff) vs. Parker County Appraisal District; CV12-1314; CV14-1349; 415th District Court.
The Weatherford Texas Hospital Company challenges the value assessment of its property made by the Parker County Appraisal District for tax years 2012, 2013 and 2014. The hospital alleges that the appraisal district appraised the value of its property in excess of the appraised value required by law.
The hospital’s taxable value was appraised at $60,098,250 in 2012 and $59,801,090 in 2013. The hospital puts the taxable value of its property for these tax years at approximately half of what the appraisal district has assessed.
According to Cause No. CV12-1314, there is a separate lawsuit pending challenging the value assessment for the 2014 tax year. The company’s taxable value was assessed to be $59,801,090 for 2014.
The appraisal district has denied all allegations contained in the plaintiff’s Original Petition. During the Commissioners Court meeting, Judge Mark Riley expressed his concern about the potential outcome and its effects on other taxable entities as well as tax payers.
“My concern, and I believe it to be everyone’s concern, is if there’s a settlement and we have no say. The appraisal district talks about protecting tax dollars and I respect that. But it’s our money. We have a vested interest in the outcome (of the case).
It’s not just these three years (2012 – 2014). It’s the whole future. You set a precedent. As a board member for the appraisal district pointed out the other day, what do you do with the other hospital? We have Texas Health Resources out here. We have other medical facilities who want to come to town. You set that precedent.
The other thing I’m concerned about if the appraisal district settles…what message does it send to our property tax owners who own a business or house here and they see almost a 50 percent reduction (in taxable property value) given to an outside corporation (the hospital)? That’s the big picture.”
The court convened in a closed session where any further action was discussed. In the open session that followed, Riley authorized the county judge to send a letter to each board member of the appraisal district. The letter is to inform them that the county is opposed to any negotiated settlement between the appraisal district and the hospital that would reduce the current appraised value of the property owned by the hospital.
Riley authorized the county judge to send a letter to appraisal district Board of Director Steve Harris, requesting his attendance at the next Commissioners Court meeting. Harris is to be summoned to discuss the lawsuit between the appraisal district and the hospital.
Riley authorized the county judge to contact Allison Bass and Associates to discuss the options for Parker County concerning the lawsuit between the appraisal district and the hospital. Judge Riley also authorized an expenditure of up to $5,000 if necessary.