While going through their normal delinquent tax collections business, Houston ISD tax staff members discovered three separate property owners had gifted them with parcels of land.
Wow, Hair Balls was thinking, isn't that nice?
Nope. Or as Donald Boehm, HISD's finance attorney, told trustees at their Monday afternoon meeting: "These are properties that really aren't worth anything."
So even giving these folks the benefit of the doubt and not suggesting in any way they were trying to walk away from their tax obligations on a piece of hell's half-acre, HISD has to formally decline this stuff to avoid getting stuck with it.
If HISD owns the parcels, it's not going to be collecting tax money from someone else as their owners and it stands to incur additional financial liability, Boehm and Chief Financial Officer Melinda Garrett said.
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"One of these properties, the building is condemned by the city of Houston so we'd be charged with that fee," Boehm said to general laughter in the room. Another property, he said, "is like 25 foot wide. You can't build on it."
"There's taxes on these properties. They filed these deeds without our knowledge," Boehm said, and to get out of it, the district has to formally "renounce" the deeds in a "Notice of Non-Acceptance."
It appears some of these deeds were handed over awhile back. The first: Lot 50, Block J, Almeda was deeded over by a Walter A. Carr in 1990. Olney Wallis gave the district a parcel in the Houston Heights in 1993. And more recently, a Charles A. McKinley gave the district "the east 40 ft. of Lot 24, clock 12, of Bayou Oaks Subdivision" in 2009.
Even though these pieces of land have an appraised value, Boehm said, those appraisals are essentially meaningless.