Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Hood County Appraisal District receives votes on Board of Directors

Posted

The Hood County Appraisal District has received votes for members of its board of directors for the 2024-25 year.

In accordance with chapter six of the property tax code, each taxing unit is eligible to cast votes for the board of directors of the Appraisal District in proportion to its tax levy. It takes 834 votes to be cast for an individual to be elected to the board of directors.

The City of Granbury is allocated 319 votes, and the Granbury ISD Board of Trustees is allocated 3,177 votes.

The Granbury ISD Board of Trustees cast its votes during a regularly scheduled school board meeting on Nov. 13 where the board voted to put 834 votes to Scott Bradley, 834 to Rick Frye, 834 votes to Mark McDonald and 675 votes to Eddie Rodriguez.

“Ron Sutton did reach out and say that he has enjoyed his time on the board and is happy to serve again, but he wanted to put his endorsement behind Rod Litke,” Superintendent Jeremy Glenn said during the school board meeting. “I don’t know Mr. Litke but Mr. Sutton spoke very highly of him and said he had vast knowledge and a wealth of experience but again I don’t know him, and I can’t speak more than that. I wanted you to know that an incumbent is willing to give up their position for Mr. Litke.”

Trustee Karen Lowery read Litke’s credentials.

“I will say that the county actually nominated Mr. Litke and with his impressive resume it sounds like that is the direction the county wants to go with,” Trustee Barbara Townsend said.

“Considering that (Litke) was their candidate that they nominated, I’d like to make a motion to allocate 834 votes to Scott Bradley, 834 votes to Rick Frye, 834 votes to Mark McDonald and 675 to Eddie Rodriguez,” Trustee Courtney Gore said.

Trustee Mike Moore seconded the motion, and a 5-2 vote was cast with Trustee Melanie Graft and Trustee Lowery voting in opposition.

During the Granbury City Council meeting on Nov. 21 the city cast its votes for the HCAD Board of Directors. Councilman Bruce Wadley was not in attendance at the meeting.

Before the vote, Hood County Commissioner Precinct 4 Dave Eagle spoke during public comments.

“My understanding is that Ron Sutton has sent you all an email talking about Ron Litke proposing that he be considered to put on this board. I urge you to consider Mr. Litke. With no aspersion to Mr. Rodriguez, I urge you not to put your votes on Mr. Rodriguez, and it’s nothing personal or anything else against Eddie,” Eagle said. “In law school they told us if it doesn’t look right, you might not do it even if it’s legal. The optics are bad, and I think that there is a potential conflict of interest by having a board member being a council member on the board. Also, there’s familial affiliation with GISD with Mr. Rodriguez and to me that doesn’t look right either. I urge you to save Mr. Rodriguez from himself and put somebody else on there and relieve him of being put on there.”

Later in the meeting when the agenda item came up regarding voting for the board of directors, Councilman Rodriguez asked the council to consider voting for him during the meeting.

“My intentions are to continue what we have been doing. There’s still a couple of items that are still left pending out there and some of those are making sure that the HCAD has a board policy and procedures and also looking at staggered terms. I also want to set the course for the HCAD board to have a strategic planning and also a feasibility study on the building that they are currently in. Those are some things I would like to get done. I don’t like to be appointed to a board or be on a board and not try to get those things done.”

City councilman Steven Vale then asked City Attorney Jeremy SoRelle if there is any legal conflict for Rodriguez serving both on city council and HCAD and SoRelle responded that there is no conflict, and it is legal.

“I think the fact that there are two incumbents, and two new members is good and keeps it balanced,” Vale said during the meeting.

Mayor Jarratt then noted that two years ago the council happily nominated Rodriguez.

“The appraisal district represents all of Hood County. I don’t think there should be any question in any of the citizens’ minds that there’s a conflict there,” Jarratt said during the meeting. “Why create that type of controversy? Mr. Rodriguez is a very respectable man but at the same time we have five other candidates.”

Councilmember Trish Burwell entered a motion to nominate Rodriguez with the city’s full 319 votes. Following that motion Mayor Jarratt nominated Litke with 319 votes.

The council then voted with four votes for Rodriguez by councilman Greg Corrigan, Rodriguez, Vale and Burwell and one vote for Litke by Mayor Jarratt.

“I would feel confident that the county has all the votes they need to put Mr. Litke on that board with the number of votes that they possess,” City Manager Chris Coffman said during the meeting. “Personally, I feel like as a citizen of Granbury, it’s inappropriate for a governing body from another jurisdiction to walk in here and dictate to you who you should vote for. I’m offended by that. On the record I’m offended by that.”

Mayor Jarratt put forth the motion to vote for Rodriguez for the board of directors with the city’s 319 votes, and councilman Vale seconded the motion. This motion passed 5-0.