Williamson Central Appraisal District
Board of Directors Meeting
Harry Gibbs, acting Chairman, called the regular meeting of the Williamson Central Appraisal District Board of Directors to order Thursday, January 13, 2022, at 9:01 a.m. Board members present; Harry Gibbs, Jon Lux, Lora Weber, Mason Moses, Hope Hisle-Piper, and Larry Gaddes. Quorum declared.
Some of the District’s management staff attended the meeting.
Pledges of Allegiance
Oath of Office by Board Members
District Judge Bill Gravell, Jr. thanked the Board members for their service. He announced that Williamson County had begun negotiations with Samsung Electronics on January 4th. Judge Gravell expressed his great appreciation to Lankford for the assistance he had provided with this process. He also thanked Gaddes. Gravell mentioned the great leadership shown by Lankford.
Judge Gravell administered the oath of office to the newly elected Board of Director members for 2022-2023; Harry Gibbs, Jon Lux, Lora Weber, Mason Moses, Hope Hisle-Piper, and Larry Gaddes.
Election of Officers
Weber nominated Lux to serve as Board Chairman. Gibbs seconded. The motion carried unanimously. Lux nominated Gibbs to serve as Vice Chairman. Weber seconded. The motion carried unanimously. Lux nominated Weber to serve as Board Secretary. Gibbs seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Gaddes explained that he serves as an ex-officio member. He mentioned that the Constitution states that the tax assessor collector must serve on the Board. Gaddes announced that he has no voting rights. Lux expressed his appreciation for Gaddes’ input even though he is a non-voting member.
Receipt of Public Comments
Lankford provided recognition for two of the Board’s outgoing members. He recognized Charles Chadwell, who was not present at this meeting, who had served on the District’s Board of Directors from 2012-2021. Lankford indicated that he and Chadwell, who had served on the Round Rock ISD school board for years, had spoken at Round Rock ISD school board meetings. Chadwell was passionate about getting the word out on equal and uniform appraisal. He also advocated for the initial customer service surveys. Lankford announced that a Texas flag had been flown over the appraisal district in Chadwell’s honor and will be sent to him.
Lankford also expressed his appreciation to outgoing Board member, Donald Hisle. He announced that Hisle was one of the most kindhearted individuals and was extremely supportive of the appraisal district. He mentioned that Hisle had attended several appraisal district conferences and was very inquisitive of the appraisal district operations.
Lankford announced that Hisle also had provided 23 years of service at Leander ISD and was one of the longest serving volunteer public servants. He announced that Hisle had been a member of the District’s Investment Advisory Committee. Lankford announced that when looking to someone as a mentor, he could think of no one better than Donald Hisle. Lankford mentioned that he felt Hisle truly cared about District employees and had a true passion for service to the community. A Texas flag had been flown over the District and was provided to Hisle.
Employee of the Year Recognition
Lankford announced that annually the District names an Employee of the Year for both the appraisal and operations side of the business. He reported that this year the District had outstanding employees of the year. He recognized these individuals who were in attendance at the meeting.
Lankford introduced Ramon Mata, an appraiser in the Commercial Appraisal department. He announced that Mata had done an outstanding job at learning his appraisal categories. Lankford also introduced Amanda Chaviano who works on the operations side of the business. Lankford announced that Chaviano works in the Mail Services Department. He indicated that the Mailroom has certain times of the year where the workload is overwhelming but that Chaviano, who had a significant impact, has a great attitude is a very hard worker.
Lankford indicated that periodically additional employees are also recognized for their performance. He announced that Colleen McElroy, the District’s Administrative Assistant, was recognized years ago as an additional award recipient. Lankford also indicated that once an employee is promoted to management, their name was withdrawn from this recognition.
Lankford recognized two of the District’s management staff, Chris Connelly, the District’s Deputy Chief Appraiser, and Charles Vasquez, its CAMA/Analysis Manager. Lankford indicated that these two had such a significant impact on accomplishing the District’s goals. Connelly and Vasquez had been instrumental in the District’s valuing with the sales comparison grid, enabling the District to both value and defend its values using that grid. Lankford announced that, thanks to this method of valuing, the District does not see large reductions in values.
Lankford informed the Board members that a plaque showing employee’s names who had been designated as employees of the year had been hung in the District’s Lobby.
Introduction of WCAD Directors
Lankford introduced several staff members who were in attendance at the meeting.
He introduced Colleen McElroy, the District’s Administrative Assistant/Office Manager, Chris Connelly, the Deputy Chief Appraiser, K.C. McDade, Director of Operations, and Assistant Director of Operations, Jessica Miller. He also introduced Aaron Moore, the Director of Appraisal and the Assistant Director of Appraisal, Johnny Robins. Michael Page, the District’s I.T. Manager and Kimberly Gamboa, the Business/HR Manager were also introduced.
Gaddes reminded the newer Board members of the separation between the appraisal district and the tax office. He indicated that any exemption questions, along with anything that requires change on the property owners account should be directed to the Appraisal District.
It was also mentioned that the Board of Directors has no influence over appraisals. Gaddes mentioned that it is a class C misdemeanor to try to influence the Chief Appraiser on a value. The tax assessor and chief appraiser can discuss individual accounts.
Taxpayer Liaison Officer’s Report
Report on Property Owner Contacts
Charley Rouse, the District’s Taxpayer Liaison Officer (TLO), was present to report on the status of his contact with property owners. It was indicated that Rouse’s main role was to settle disputes with property owners. Rouse, who has served as the TLO for many years, is hired by the Board of Directors. He acts as a liaison between the Board and property owners.
Update on Appointment of ARB by Administrative Law Judge
Rouse also reported on the appointment of the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) process with the Administrative Law Judge. He reported that he was still attempting to work with the judge to get ARB members appointed. Lankford explained that the ARB hears disputes by property owners and that those members are appointed by the Administrative Law Judge. He indicated that there are restrictions for him communicating with the judge.
Consider approval of minutes of the Board of Directors for the regular meeting – December 8, 2021.
Weber made a motion to approve the December 8, 2021, minutes as presented. Gibbs seconded. The motion carried.
Consideration of Monthly Financials
The November 2021 financials and expenditures were reviewed and filed for audit.
Investment Advisory Committee Appointment
Lankford announced that as part of Tax code requirements for any investments, the District must have an Investment Advisory Committee.
Lux made a motion to appoint Mason Moses to the Investment Advisory Committee. He amended his motion to also include both Alvin Lankford and Kimberly Gamboa on this committee. Weber seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
District Depository Approval
Lankford informed the Board that every two years the District must request proposals from banking institutions. He announced that four banks had submitted request for proposals: VeraBank, R Bank, Bank OZK, and PlainsCapital Bank. Lankford indicated that the District currently banks with VeraBank, whose interest rates are a little better than others and the District has a good business relationship with them.
Gibbs made a motion to accept the depository agreement with Vera Bank. Moses seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Print Vendor Selection from RFP
Lankford informed the Board that the District was in need of choosing an appraisal notice print vendor. He announced that this mailing is sent to all property owners which accounts for 200,000 – 230,000 pieces of mail. It was indicated that data files are provided and compiled with the other forms that are sent to owners. The proposals from the different vendors were reviewed. Discussion followed.
Jessica Miller, the District’s Assistant Director of Operations, recommended contracting with The Masters Touch for the District’s appraisal notice printing. She reviewed the pricing from the vendors.
Moses moved to accept the proposal from The Master’s Touch, pending contract approval at the February Board Meeting. Hisle-Piper seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
WCAD Building Payoff
Lankford was excited to announce the District’s plans to pay off its building. He announced that construction of this building had occurred 15 years ago and expressed how thankful he and staff had been for this building. Lankford announced the District’s building had been very well maintained. He indicated that, thanks to the suggestion from Gibbs, the building had been refinanced a few years prior, which saved the District around one million dollars and shortened the term of the loan. This also saved money for the taxing units and property owners. Lankford announced that, thanks to the use of technology, the District had not yet had a need for expansion. He indicated that a payoff quote had been received from Bank of America and if we provide the payoff prior to January 15th, the sum would be $210,633.81. These funds could be pulled from the building reserve account.
Gibbs announced that he was a member of the District’s Board of Directors when it officed at its old building. Gibbs reviewed the process that was used when locating a new building site and how the District was able to reduce additional funds needed.
Gibbs moved for approval of the building payoff in the amount of $210,633.81 to be paid prior to January 15, 2022, out of the building reserve account. Weber seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Salary Study for WCAD Staff
Lankford had previously suggested reviewing each staff position in the appraisal district to ensure staff was being paid at market value. He indicated that he had been in contact with Segal Company who had studied other large Texas Appraisal Districts recently. He announced the plan to provide a list of all the District’s positions to get their input. Lankford was hopeful that a proposed contract would be available for the Board’s February meeting.
Weber requested that the Chief Appraiser position be included in this study. There was no motion made.
2022 TAAD Conference & Voting Delegate
Lankford indicated that each year the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts (TAAD) has a delegation of all Appraisal Districts in order for new officers to be voted in for TAAD. He announced that, if all goes as planned, he would be named the President of the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts.
Moses moved to designate Chris Connelly as the 2022 TAAD Voting Delegate and Aaron Moore as the alternate. Gibbs seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Lankford discussed the upcoming TAAD Conference, scheduled for February 6th – 9th at the Gaylord Texan Resort. He announced that one day at this conference breakout sessions are geared towards Board of Director members. Lankford informed the members of the deadline of January 21st for early registration.
Chief Appraiser Compensation Study Revision
Executive Session began at 10:27 a.m. and ended at 11:53 a.m.
Consideration and possible action on items discussed in Executive Session
Chief Appraiser Compensation Study Revision
Weber moved to have an additional $6,000 added to Lankford’s base salary, plus non-earned stipends. She clarified that this would be in addition to the bonus that the Board provided to Lankford at their December 8, 2021, Board Meeting. Gibbs seconded. Lux thanked Lankford for his patience in this process and expressed that he was hopeful an alignment would be made along with staff salaries. Lankford expressed his appreciation to the Board. The motion carried.
Lux announced that Lankford should work with his Human Resources department regarding the information he had been provided in Executive Session. No motion was made.
Chief Appraiser’s Report
Lankford discussed a presentation he had done at the Hutto Power Breakfast in December. He indicated that leaders throughout the Hutto community were in attendance.
2022 Planning Session & Goals
Lankford announced that Connelly would discuss the District’s 2022 goals at the next Board Meeting. He asked to postpone this item in the interest of time.
Orion User’s Group Meeting
Lankford informed the Board that annually a meeting is scheduled to include all Orion (the District’s appraisal software vendor) users. He announced that the District had been a leader in innovation on this software. He indicated that six Appraisal Districts, with 43 attendees, had attended this meeting and that having this meeting had saved development dollars for the District.
Board of Directors Bios for Website
Lankford reminded the members that their photos and biographies were included on the District’s website. He announced that new members would be added, and information would be updated.
Lankford announced that he would like to have individual photos as well as a group picture displayed in the District’s Lobby. The Board decided these photos would be taken on the date of the February Board Meeting.
Lawsuit, Arbitration and SOAH Reports
Lankford reviewed the lawsuit and arbitration reports. There were no State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) on which to report.
Lankford announced that when the Board has new members, the District’s attorney firm provides training on understanding the duties of the position. He inquired with the Board about providing this training during their March meeting.
Top Workplace Austin
Lankford informed the Board that, since being awarded the Top Workplace, the District would be receiving a digital logo that it would be including in its signature line of its emails. He announced that the District would also place the trophy received outside the Board room.
Board Agenda Additions for Future Meeting
The Board had no additions for future meetings. Lux mentioned the purpose for this agenda item; indicating that this allows members a chance to add items to upcoming agendas. Lankford indicated that items may be added to the agenda up to four days prior to the meeting.
Lux welcomed Moses and Hisle-Piper. Moses expressed his excitement to join the Board. There were no other Board announcements.
The Board set the date for their next regular meeting for Thursday, February 24, at 9:00 a.m.
The meeting adjourned at 12:13 p.m.
Jon Lux, Chairman Lora H. Weber, Secretary