Medina Co Appraisal district purchase in limbo

Purchase of a proposed new home for the Medina County Appraisal District remains locked in litigation nearly 16 months after MCAD contracted to buy the former Hondo office used by the 38th Judicial District of Texas district attorney.
The MCAD board of directors took no action following a May 10 executive session on the real estate purchase.
“Our current building is owned by the county and we rent from them,” board chairman Tim Hardt said. “As a district we would like to own our own building.”
The ownership issue arose in late 2020 after the state authorized Medina County to form its own district court, Hardt said. Prior to establishment the 454th Judicial District Court, Medina County fell under the jurisdiction of the 38th Judicial District of Texas that also included Uvalde and Real counties.
MCAD has an earnest money contract to purchase the building in Hondo used by the 38th Judicial District from the three counties involved, Hardt said. However, Christina Mitchell Busbee, the district attorney representing the now reduced 38th, filed suit claiming that the counties lacked the authority to sell the property.
“We cannot close on the sale until that litigation is resolved as to who is going to sell the building,” Hardt said.
In other business, chief appraiser Johnette Dixon presented proposals for the upcoming 2022-2023 MCAD budget.
“The preliminary budget is reflective of an increase in operations and cost-of-living for the employees,” she said.
The current 2021-2022 budget for the district is $1,455,700. As a minimum for 2022-2023, the proposed budget is $1,542,025, Dixon said.
If the board approves the full cost-of-living salary increase proposed for the district, the final approved budget would be $1,553,725, she said.
A final decision on the new budget is expected during the regularly scheduled June 14 MCAD board meeting.
“The preliminary budget has to be approved in June,” Dixon said. “The final budget must reach the entities by August for their approval.”
A treasurer’s report presented to the board showed that the 12 governmental entities that comprise the appraisal district are on schedule in providing their pro-rated share payments, she said.
“Each of the entities pays into a portion of our budget based on their levy,” Dixon said. “We send them quarterly invoices and so far everyone is up to date as of the second quarter.”
The May 10 meeting marked the introduction of new board member Clay Bell who replaces Jeff Diles, an eight-year veteran of the appraisal district board of directors.
Vice chairwoman Jody Jacobs and county tax collector Melissa Lutz were absent from the meeting.

By Anton Riecher
Devine News Correspondent