Sabine County Appraisal District Chief Cari Papania was on hand at Sabine County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, Sept. 9 to explain $124 million error in the 2019 appraisal tax roll. What was called a clerical error will cost the seven entities it services. According to Papania the Sabine County Appraisal District serves Sabine County, Hemphill ISD, West Sabine ISD, Shelbyville ISD, Brookeland ISD, Sabine County Hospital District, and City of Pineland.
In a brief statement during Commissioners Court, Hemphill ISD Superintendent Reese Briggs stated that the schools budget had already been set, and the appraised property valuation with the error sent to the state. That number is used for State Funding purposes and will cost the district more than one million dollars. All seven of the taxing entities had already set and published the tax rate that included the error
Papania told the court that the error occurred after an "override" prompted the program to revalue a single lake front property from $128,210 in 2018, to $124 million, that's one hundred and twenty four million dollars. The mistake sent all taxing entities scrabbling to re-schedule public hearings, adjust already approved budgets, and set the final property tax rate for 2019. The error occurred as the software updated the value of lakefront property increased by 5% over other areas of Sabine County. The state deadline is Sept. 30. The proposed tax rate will not in increase for either meeting Daily News attended concerning the issue at Monday's meetings, nor will it increase the trust in the Sabine County Appraisal District. Residents had already been concerned over huge property tax increases. Both Sabine County Judge Daryl Melton, Sabine County Tax Collector Assessor Martha Stone, Superintendent Reese Briggs, and Sabine County Hospital President Tiffani Bradberry expressed their concerns over such a huge error. "...We are only as good as the numbers were are given by the appraisal district," Stone said. Papania stated that she had consulted with the software vendor, Southwest Data to make some corrects to keep the issue from happening in the future. Representatives from the company were on hand, and agreed they could install a "flag" number if for example a property value increased by 50%.
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