Commissioners approve changes in Tax Assessor-Collector duties

The Culberson County Commissioners Court met on Monday at County Courthouse for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. County Judge Carlos Urias presided with all four commissioners in attendance.

Tax Assessor-Collector Joe Morales had submitted a letter requesting that taxing duties be transferred from his office to the Culberson County Appraisal District (CCAD). Currently, the collection of county taxes is the responsibility of the elected Culberson County Tax Assessor-Collector (TAC).

With the approval of the county tax assessor-collector, commissioners may contract with an appraisal district “to perform duties relating to the assessment or collection of taxes for the county.”

From Morales’ perspective, consolidating tax collections into one office will be very helpful to taxpayers, especially those who might not be aware that there are two locations for paying local taxes. Morales cited instances of residents falling behind on taxes because they were unaware that they had to pay taxes at his office.

Property values that determine property tax bills are calculated by the CCAD. The collection of taxes for the town, hospital district, and school district is also done by CCAD. The Appraisal District is separate and not part of the county government.

Commish Frank Franco didn’t seem to buy the confusion of paying taxes at two locations as a justification for transferring the collection of taxes for the county. The county already pays CCAD for the appraisal services and transferring over collection duties will necessitate additional fees ranging from $20,000 to $15,000 yearly. The fees have yet to be determined.

Regarding other duties the TAC office performs, Morales stated that he intends to keep his office fully staffed and busy. The office also processes annual vehicle registrations and title transfers.

Judge Urias mentioned several counties in Texas have tax collection agreements with their appraisal districts. Other commissioners seemed keen on the idea of consolidating tax collections into one central location, thus making it more convenient for residents, especially the elderly.

After more debate, the commissioners approved the Assessment and Collection Agreement between Culberson County and County Appraisal District. The motion carried with Jude Urias, commissioners Adrian Norman, Gilda Morales, and Raul Rodriguez in favor. Commish Frank Franco voted in opposition.

In other County business, the Court also:

Heard a presentation on the Audit for FY 2021-2022 by Rick Knapp. Audit reported an “unqualified opinion.”

Heard reports on various County Projects.

Approved monthly expenses and payroll.


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