House values up 2,000%?

FULSHEAR, TX She's not the only one seeing a big jump. Others who live in Fulshear are wondering why they are being taxed on what could happen in the future, not what the current market is.

Development in and near the city of Fulshear is booming. You can see new commercial centers popping in up in areas that were once neighborhoods and small mom and pop stores. As a result authorities say residents are seeing higher taxes than ever.

As development moves west and new homes follow, those who have lived here their entire lives wonder if they'll continue to be able to afford to do so.

"I am concerned because the taxes are gonna be so high I can't afford to pay it," said property owner Viola Randle.

Randle, 84, is the former mayor here. She is on Social Security but owns two properties in addition to the home where she lives. She admits they're nothing fancy but in the last year and without improvements, one was appraised at $169,000 more than last year. Another had a value increase of $140,000. Randle worries not only that she'll lose those properties, but also the home where she lives, because she can't afford to pay all the taxes.

"If we can't afford it, to pay the taxes, what are we gonna do," Randle asked. "We'll have to move out."

Melisa Roberts is leading a group of Fulshear taxpayers who are fighting these skyrocketing appraisals. A vacant lot which she owns was valued at $4,800 last year, more than $98,000 this year. According to the county's own paper work, it's an increase of more than 2,300%.

"I think it's irresponsible for the Fort Bend Appraisal District to tax this way," she told us.

But Chief Fort Bend Appraiser Glen Whitehead says the values are set according to what is selling in the area.

"That's nothing that I can control, that's the market setting that control," he said.

The demand for property here is so high Whitehead says he's been "shocked" at what some have sold for. The tax appraisals he says are a sole reflection of those prices.

Something to keep in mind the Fort Bend County Central Appraisal District says the average value of homestead property here in Fulshear rose about 19% this year.

Getting a homestead exemption will cap your taxes on your presence at 10% annually. Appraisers say the best thing to do if you are not happy with your tax appraisal is to protest it.

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