CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Rising appraisal values are causing concerns for property owners across the Rio Grande Valley.

One local couple reached out to ValleyCentral saying their appraisal value has skyrocketed within the last year and now they are worried about how it will impact their property tax.

“They want to raise each lot the appraised values from roughly $3,000 to $10,000 -12,000 depending on the lot,” said Bill Mundhenke.

Bill and his wife Eleanor have owned five lots outside of Bayview, Texas for the last six years. Since they are originally from South Dakota, the couple lives in the RGV six months out of the year. The Mundhenkes hope to make the properties they own a permanent home, but their rising appraisal values are worrying them.

According to the appraisal notice their property value has increased more than 300%, just for one of the lots that they own.

“Our income did not increase by 350%,” Eleanor said. ” It means I’ll be living in my 20-year-old car.”  

The average Tax Rate in Cameron County is 1.76%, according to SmartAsset. Right now the Mundhenkes pay more than $400 a year for all five of their properties, but they fear that number will soar.

“Well if it can increase that much in one year, 350% in one year, what is going to happen next year?” Eleanor said.

According to the Cameron County Appraisal District, two other properties near the Mundhenkes sold at a higher price which influenced their appraisal review.

“Market values can actually change rapidly if the market has a lot of changes in the area that are going up,” said Chief Appraiser Richard Molina. “In other words multiple sales showing that the evaluations are going up whether it is land evaluations or the home evaluations that are going up.”  

CADTax which helps property owners get around their appraisal values tell ValleyCentral they have been getting a line of people needing help to get their appraisals lowered.

Owners with a homestead tax exemption will see no more than 10% on property taxes. But CADTax CEO Tim Wilkins says that is not the case for everyone.

“If they are not homestead protected then the appraisal district can try to go as high as they want,” Wilkins said. “The only mechanism a property owner has at that point is to use the protest purpose.”

For now, the Mundhenkes plan to protest their appraisal values and hope they can be able to keep their properties.

“This would be our home,” Mundhenke said. ” But if the taxes continue to up like this it won’t be our home anymore I guess.”  

The deadline to protest in Cameron County is May 16.