A Knight’s Tale is an awesome movie on so many levels. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, I highly recommend you do. It’s about a peasant who strives to become a knight. There’s only one problem: in order to become a knight, one must be of noble birth. One of the big questions throughout the movie is whether or not someone can change their stars, basically do the impossible. But that theme doesn’t end with the movie; it also applies to us.
A few months ago, I told you about Thomas and my protest for our property tax appraisal and the review board not listening to a single piece of evidence we presented, including them dismissing the fact that we are lumped in with a gated community half a mile away even though we live outside the gate. To be quite frank, the county and the board don’t care as long as they get their funds, and listening to our evidence would result in them receiving less money from us.
A simple property appraisal protest is a common occurrence in the state of Texas. It’s free to go in front of the review board—it just takes time and energy to do it. Going beyond the board, however, is more intricate…and it involves putting down some money. It’s a gamble, for sure. We’ve never filed for binding arbitration (the next step), but this year, with the guidance of our attorney, we decided it was worth the risk.
Once the request for arbitration is granted by the Texas Comptroller, a settlement period occurs before both sides plead their case to an arbitrator. This is to allow the property owner and county time to see if an agreement can be reached. Within days of us entering this settlement period, the county, who refused to work with us earlier in the year and listen to any of our evidence, emailed me an offer.
It wasn’t everything we were seeking, but it was a significant tax appraisal reduction and included us being separated from the nearby gated community. After consultation with our attorney, we decided to accept the offer. Yesterday, I signed the settlement agreement and emailed both the county and Comptroller the appropriate documentation. The protest (for this year, at least) is finally over, and I can breathe a sigh of relief.
Now, why am I telling you this? To show you that even when things seem impossible, don’t give up. Fight. Keep fighting. And when you fall down, get back up and take another (proverbial) swing. It is possible to change your stars—it just might take a little more elbow grease.
‘Til next time!
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