The current location of the Burnet Central Appraisal District at 223 S. Pierce St. on the courthouse square is too small to handle the continuing demands of a growing county and needs to be replaced in a location with better parking and room to expand in the future, Burnet County commissioners were told in a meeting Dec. 7. The district has located just such a spot on Houston Clinton Drive near the airport and the fairgrounds. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman
A new Burnet Central Appraisal District building soon might be in the works, according to a presentation made by board member Dave Kithil and Chief Appraiser Stan Hemphill at the Burnet County Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday, Dec. 7. The duo will be back before the commissioners in January to take the next step in what could be a $3 million building project.
“Growth has put a lot of pressure on the appraisal district and the ability of people to do their work,” said Kithil, laying out a list of areas where the demands on the office have grown. “We are at the point of needing a second panel to handle protests. One panel doesn’t allow us to do it all anymore.”
An additional arm of the Appraisal Review Board means more space is needed at the district’s current address at 223 S. Pierce St. on the Burnet County Courthouse Square in Burnet. The district has been at that site for almost 40 years.
“Our building cannot be altered,” Kithil continued, “which has caused the board to seek a solution.”
“We have a fund built up over the years and can pay cash for the land,” Kithil said. “We’ve had some rough architectural work done for a 7,000-square-foot building, up from the 5,000 square feet we have now, and estimates from several builders. They indicate we are going to need $2 million to $3 million, which includes a parking lot.
To pay for construction, the district would need to increase what it charges for its services to each of the taxing districts in the county. The amount would be apportioned between them according to the size of each tax base. Construction costs would be paid out over time through a mortgage loan.
The next step comes in January, when Kithil and Hemphill plan a return to the Burnet County Commissioners Court with a resolution asking for a vote to support the purchase.
“The law requires that, in the matter of real estate, the appraisal district needs three-fourths of the voting entities to approve of the purchase,” Kithil said.
Based on the reaction of the commissioners and the county judge, the Central Appraisal District will get a yes vote from them when they return in January.
“I, for one, think this is a bit overdue,” County Judge James Oakley said. “That building has had some issues.”
The new building will have a drive-through window, which has proven “hugely popular” when added to the annexes in north and south Burnet County, Oakley continued.