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Many San Antonio homeowners confronting appraisal shock after 'ridiculous' increases in value

The deadline to file a protest is coming up on May 16.

SAN ANTONIO — When Barbara Howard opened an envelope with the new property tax appraisal on her childhood home, she couldn't believe what she saw.

“I almost passed out," she says. "I thought it was a mistake."

Her modest, 1,094-square-foot home just west of the AT&T Center is 73 years old. Despite the fact there have been no recent improvements, Howard said the appraised value jumped from $74,000 to $199,610.

Howard said it’s hard to believe the home, which has termites and needs foundation work, saw such a huge increase.

“This is ridiculous and somebody's crazy. That doesn't even make any sense,” she said.

Credit: KENS
The appraised value on this east-side home on Onslow, near the AT&T Center, jumped from $74,000 to $199,610 despite zero improvements.

Pointing to other nearby homes in similar states of disrepair, Howard said, “I'm thinking, really, the original $70,000 value is too much for that area.”

Homes across the street from Howard are in the 600-to-700-square-foot range. Many feature sagging foundations and peeling paint, yet their new appraised values are in the six digits. 

“I don't know what their game is," Howard said, "but that's ridiculous for them to charge us that much for property taxes.”

Howard is not alone in her dismay.

On Monday night, people who live in Highland Hills crowded their community center to hear presentations on how to fight the higher values.

Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector Albert Uresti offered the worried residents information about assistance programs that are available. He said about 15,000 homeowners are currently in delinquent status and not current with their tax payments.

Representatives from a local nonprofit also offered advice on how to prepare a valid argument for protesting a value that seems too high. The residents were told to provide photographic evidence of problems like foundation issues, floor problems and windows that don’t close, correctly indicating structural issues.

The deadline to file a protest is May 16. Protests may be filed online here

Once the form has been submitted, property owners will be notified of a date for their hearing. 

The My City Is My Home organization also offers free protest help for those who qualify for services. The group will be participating in a homeowner workshop Saturday at the Antioch Sports Complex, located at 314 Eross, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will also be a seminar Monday evening at 6 p.m. at the Pre-K 4 SA south-side campus at 7031 South New Braunfels. Sponsored by District 3 City Council representative Phyllis Viagran, the session will be a chance for homeowners to listen to advice from the nonprofit, as well as Uresti.