Alleges property value set too high

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

The Alice Social Security Administration has filed a lawsuit against the Jim Wells County Appraisal District, alleging the district set unreasonably high property valuations for the administration’s Alice facility.

The lawsuit, which was made public Tuesday, was filed by the Alice Social Security Administration, L.L.C and Ronel, L.L.C., a Delaware company against the appraisal district.

According to the lawsuit, the property was valued at $936,510 for the calendar year 2006, and on June 7, 2006 the SSA filed a protest with the Jim Wells County Appraisal District Review Board claiming the valuation was too high.

On June 29, 2006, the district reduced the assessed value to $900,127, but that amount was never given final written approval by the SSA and the protest was never closed, according to the lawsuit.

On May 1, 2007, the SSA was informed its property was assessed at $900,127 by the district for calendar year 2007.

The SSA again protested the valuation on May 30, 2007. That protest was denied by the appraisal review board on July 12, 2007.

"The fair market value of the plaintiff’s property, as described above on Jan. 1, 2006 is $600,000," the lawsuit states. "The fair market value of the plaintiff’s property as described above on Jan. 1, 2007 was $620,000. The levying of a tax on plaintiff’s property based on a higher valuation is an unlawful levy, creates an illegal lien on plaintiff’s property, and is a cloud on plaintiff’s title to the property."

The SSA and Ronel seek through the lawsuit that the court assess the value of the property at $600,000 for the 2006 calendar year and $620,000 for the 2007 calendar year, and that the district be required to pay all attorneys fees incurred while filing the suit.

The SSA and Ronel are represented by attorney Christopher Smitherman of Bryan, Texas.

The district has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.