Thousands of Fort Bend residents flipped out this month when they opened their property appraisal notices and saw that their valuations skyrocketed over last year's. They took to the phones, calling the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District, but had trouble getting through — a notice on the District's website said the department was experiencing higher than average call volume.
No wonder: As KPRC reports, the error resulted in nearly 150,000 incorrectly calculated bills. "They'll be refigured, reprinted, and mailed again. Postage alone will cost the county almost $73,000," according to the story.
A new notice on the District's site states that "one of the two batches mailed did not fully process all the information needed for proper evaluation. This error will affect 145,656 accounts. Correct notices will be mailed by May 12, 2015." (The protest date will be extended to June 12).
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Chief Appraiser Glen Whitehead told The Houston Press "One of our programs did not complete all the way, so we went through and manually downloaded files, and in the processing, that file got corrupted." But by the time appraisers caught the error, the notices had already been mailed.
Whitehead said this is the first time something like this has happened. Usually errors are caught in time, he said.
"We get proof samples back" from the vendor, Whitehead said. "We can check anywhere from ten accounts to 400 accounts. And we were trying to get everything in the mail, and we looked at the first five or six accounts. They looked fine, so they were sent to the printer's." Unfortunately, when appraisers checked the file, they saw what had happened.
We're just glad to hear everything's been sorted out. Now, let the protests begin!