Update: El Paso Court of Appeals reviews Section 6.03 requirement that appraisal district board of director members must live within the county they serve.
By Natalie A. Maloney | April 3, 2023
In re: Loving County Appraisal District, No. 08-22-00243-CV, 2023 WL 2023 WL 2327466 (Tex. App.—El Paso March. 2, 2023 (orig. proceeding)
The board of directors of an appraisal district is a powerful body. It governs the appraisal district and is responsible for appointing the chief appraiser, who serves at its “pleasure.” This case provides an important reminder that members of the board of directors must meet the residency requirements of the Texas Property Tax Code. Under Section 6.03 of the Code, to be eligible to serve on the board an individual must be a resident of the appraisal district and have resided in it for at least two years immediately preceding the date office is taken. The appraisal district and county have the same boundaries.
Here, the Loving County Appraisal District (CAD) challenged the qualifications of a member of the Loving CAD Board of Directors based on residency. The CAD alleged the board member lived in Reeves County, not Loving County. The CAD filed a lawsuit seeking: (1) a declaration that the member was not a resident of Loving County and therefore not qualified to serve, and (2) an order directing the commissioner’s court to nominate a replacement board member. In response, the commissioner’s court attempted to recall and replace the board members—more than half—who supported the CAD’s lawsuit to determine residency qualifications. The CAD filed for a temporary injunction to stop the commissioner’s court from recalling and replacing said board members. The trial court denied the CAD’s request for a TRO. The CAD filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the El Paso Court of Appeals.
The El Paso Court of Appeals denied the CAD’s petition for writ of mandamus for failure to provide a sufficient record to prove its claim for relief. Mandamus is an extraordinary remedy, and a party seeking it has the burden to prove the trial court clearly abused its discretion and no adequate remedy exists. The burden of proof includes providing a record that establishes a right to relief. Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 52.7 sets out the requirements of the record including certified or sworn copies of material documents filed in the underlying proceeding, an authenticated transcript of relevant testimony and exhibits, or a statement no testimony was given. As a result of the insufficient mandamus record, the El Paso Court of Appeals stated it could not determine whether the trial court clearly abused its discretion in denying the temporary injunction. The El Paso Court of Appeals denied the CAD’s petition for a writ of mandamus.
As the Texas 88th Legislature considers various property tax bills, including one that would abolish certain appraisal districts and require the comptroller to perform their duties and the duties of their boards and chief appraisers, this case has news you can use.
To review this case’s appellate history and status, click the following link (or copy and paste): https://search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=08-22-00243-CV&coa=coa08.
Key Sections of Texas Property Tax Code:
§ 6.03, Board of Directors
 The chief appraiser is appointed by and “serves at the pleasure of the appraisal district board of directors.” See Id. § 6.05(c).
 Under 6.03 the residency requirement applies to an individual other than a county assessor-collector serving as a nonvoting director. See Tex. Prop. Tax Code § 6.03(a).
 See Tex. Prop. Tax Code § 6.02(a).