Angry residents protest higher property taxes in Fort Bend County

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A group of Fort Bend County residents angry about rising property taxes are not content to file protests; they are taking to the streets in actual protest.

Usually a property tax protest happens between one homeowner and a county appraisal district employee, but that's not what happened at the Fort Bend County Appraisal District on Tuesday.

Residents are fed up and fired up about rising property appraisals in Fort Bend County.

Protester Allison Walla said, "Every year we are taxed at 10 percent minimum, that tax is compounded, we are saying we have had enough, we cannot keep up with these rates."

Walla helped organize this march on the Fort Bend County Appraisal District. Throughout the county home owners are reporting large increases in their appraised values. Some here say it's becoming too hard to pay what they owe, like Hortense Stripling's mother.

Stripling said, "With the land and the home, it went up over 200 percent. Her taxes, that's the increase. Do you think she can continue to live there at 200 percent every year? I don't believe so."

Fort Bend County has seen extraordinary growth over the last few years with hundreds of new homes and businesses. As the county becomes more attractive to home owners, values go up, the only way currently to fight those increases is to file a protest with the Appraisal District.

Fort Bend County Chief Appraiser Glen Whitehead said, "I have to follow the laws of the state of Texas."

Whitehead says various government bodies set the rates of taxation, and that's what drives bills up or down.

"They are the ones that actually set what the tax rates are going to be," Whitehead explained. "They set the budgets and adopt a tax rate to support that budget."

Officials say those tax rates have not yet been set, so the protesters have a chance to march on city halls, county commission offices and school districts to get the rates lowered and with it lower tax burdens.
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