Tax Assessments Causing Sticker Shock in South Dallas Neighborhood

For decades, residents in the South Boulevard - Park Row neighborhood in South Dallas didn't think twice when their property tax assessment came in the mail.

That has changed over the last several years.

"I've never had a tax issue until this week," said longtime resident Jeanette Bolden.

Sitting next to Bolden at her dining room table were her neighbors, Jackie Abney and Zachary Krochtengel. Their property taxes have risen astronomically.

"Our taxes doubled last year, and we thought that was kind of the brunt of it," Krochtengel said. "This year they doubled again. Our appraisal value went from $67,000 to $140,000 and now it's at $248,000."

Abney has lived in South Dallas her whole life. Not once has she sat around a table talking with her neighbors about the value of her property being so high. She lives on a fixed income and is concerned what rising home values mean for her place in the neighborhood.

"Our first year here our taxes were reasonable, and within the last 21 years they've escalated enormously," Abney said. "As we age we wonder, 'Are we going to be able to afford to stay here?'"

Consider the residents victims of their own success. Tax appraisals are based, in part, on comparable home sales in the neighborhood. The price for existing home sales are much higher than they were just a few years ago. The homes are worth more because the neighborhood continues to improve.

"It's a good thing, in a sense, that people are taking a notice in the area and what we're trying to do hear," said Larry Yarrell. He moved here because of the sense of community in the neighborhood. Now he fears that some of his neighbors will be priced out of their homes.

"I didn't move here because I wanted to flip the home and sell it in two or three years," he said. "I moved here because I wanted to raise my family in a community type of environment."

"We'll figure (paying higher property taxes) out, but I know that there are some families saying I'm not sure what we're going to do," he added.

Property owners can protest their appraisal by May 31 or no later than 30 days after receiving the notice. It can be done in writing, online, or in person at the Dallas County Appraisal District office.

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