The Montgomery Central Appraisal District is in the process of soliciting approval from entities within its taxing jurisdiction to fund a remodel and expansion of its facility by June 2015.
Gerald Laake, director of finance for MCAD, said the district plans to nearly double the size of its facility by adding 15,000 square feet to the existing 16,000-square-foot building at 109 Gladstell St., Conroe. In addition to the expansion, a number of other improvements are expected such as additional parking spaces and adding a new roof, new carpet and light fixtures to the existing building. The proposed project is expected to cost a maximum of $4 million, which will be funded by local tax paying entities over the life of a 15-year loan, Laake said.
“The [MCAD] building was built in 1986 and is close to 28 years old,” Laake said.
“Montgomery County has grown so much—especially in the last 10 years—that the number of taxpayers has increased. We do not have near the [amount of] room [in our facility] to accommodate those property owners coming in, and they are packed in like sardines.”
Mark Castleschouldt, chief appraiser for MCAD, said 155,000 local taxpayer accounts were registered with MCAD in 1986 when the building originally opened. The district now serves about 285,000 accounts due to a surge in growth, with 165,000 of that amount registered to single-family residents, he said.
Castleschouldt said the facility expansion is anticipated to accommodate space for an additional 52 employees in the coming years and add new meeting rooms and a larger lobby to better serve the county’s taxpayers.
“That’s another reason for the expansion—as we keep growing in population, we will need additional employees to keep servicing all the things we’ll have to do,” Laake said.
To receive funding for the expansion and remodeling proposal, MCAD officials must present construction options and receive approval from three-fourths of the entities in its taxpaying jurisdiction, Laake said. If approved, the entities will allocate a portion of taxpayer funding to help construct the MCAD facility improvements.
Castleschouldt said the district will present the proposal to about 80 of its taxing entities including the city of Magnolia, Montgomery County and the Magnolia, Tomball and Conroe school districts. MCAD officials have received approval from all of the estimated 60 percent of taxing entities they have met with so far, he said.
MCAD officials are expected to meet with the other estimated 40 percent of the district’s entities in the coming weeks and place the project up for the financing and bid process in early fall if approval is received, he said. Construction should begin shortly thereafter by the end of the year, and MCAD officials hope to complete the project by June 2015, Castleschouldt said.
“Our budget is paid for by the taxing entities based on their tax levy, and that’s going to change every year,” Castleschouldt said. “Homeowners ultimately pay taxes, and a percentage of those taxes, in turn, are forwarded to us. Ultimately, I’m a taxpayer and a couple pennies of my taxes will go to fund the facility.”
City of Magnolia council members approved MCAD’s expansion and remodeling proposal during its July 8 meeting and is expected to allocate an estimated $220 of the city’s annual budget for the next 15 years to help fund the facility renovations, Castleschouldt said.
MCAD will present its expansion and remodeling proposal to the Tomball and Magnolia school districts this week for possible approval.