By: Zora Asberry
BIG SPRING - Residents of Big Spring held a peaceful protest outside of the Howard County Appraisal District on Thursday after learning that their property tax valuations are going up.
NewsWest 9 spoke with several concerned residents about the property tax increase.
Jerry Roach, Big Spring resident and property owner, said, "You know, people can't afford these rates. We don't all work in the oilfield, we're in the food business ourselves and we can't raise our rates to match these taxes."
Judy Durham, another Big Spring resident, who is retired, said, "I'm on a fixed income and I don't have an opportunity to make any extra money, so it's not fair to the people that the housing that's affordable now, won't be affordable next year."
Big Spring residents like Chipper Smith are outraged by how much their property tax valuations will increase, saying, "According to what I read on my tax statement this year, the taxes on my property are going up $25,000," said Smith.
Marilyn Tuner, whose husband is on disability, said, "We don't need this. We're having a hard enough time day to day without them going crazy on our taxes."
The people of Big Spring are being represented by an attorney to help plead their case when they decide to go to before the Appraisal Review Board.
Attorney David Showalter, said, "We want to see if the process fair. Is the information that the appraisal district is using is it accurate? Are the valuations being fairly established? Are people paying what they owe but no more than what they owe?"
NewsWest 9 reached out to Ronny Babcock, who is the the Chief Appraiser for Howard County. He tells NewsWest 9 that the reason for the property tax increase can be attributed to the oilfield decline as well as an increase in the market value.
Babcock also says that citizens have the right to protest but they should follow the proper legal process of filing their protest and going before the Appraisal Review Board.
Scott Emerson, the man who led the protest, say's that property taxes are difficult to understand, making some people afraid to fight for their rights.
"I think it's designed to be tough to understand, and that's what were trying to do today, is raise awareness for the people that don't have Internet and can get on and look at what they can do. I just want everyone to know that they have the right to protest their valuations and their property taxes," said Emerson.