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Eagle Ford: Mineral appraisals skyrocket in county
Gregg Davis (left) and Kenneth Hitt of Capitol Appraisal Group give a presentation related to Wilson County’s increasing mineral appraisals during the Nov. 28 meeting of the Wilson County Appraisal District board of directors.
Wilson County NewsDecember 5, 2012 2,877 views 3 comments
Oil and natural gas exploration in the Wilson County portion of the Eagle Ford shale continues. This could mean a property-tax windfall, as evidenced by a presentation by Kenneth Hitt and Gregg Davis of Austin-based Capitol Appraisal Group during the Nov. 28 meeting of the Wilson County Appraisal District (WCAD) board of directors.
Capitol performs the district’s mineral appraisals. Hitt said his company appraised the county’s mineral value at just $15,872,000 in 2010. That figure almost doubled in 2011, reaching $27,779,000, when Eagle Ford became a household word in the county. But in the 2012 tax year, the county has an estimated mineral value of $113,427,000 -- an increase of 315 percent -- which is a direct result of drilling permits, Hitt said.
Leases continue to increase at a steady pace. Hitt said that in 2009, just one lease was granted for a well north of Stockdale. One year later, 11 leases were granted, followed by 23 in 2011 and 27 in 2012. Projections indicate that 68 leases will be granted within the next year. A majority of the activity is occurring in the Poth Independent School District, he said, which is located in the southwestern portion of Wilson County.
The activity associated with oil and natural gas exploration and production also means an increase in the appraised value of personal property, such as pipelines and rigs. Davis said that this value has increased more than 50 percent from 2011-12, from $86,290,369 to $129,529,888. Of that figure, he said, approximately $18 million is attributed to a crude oil pipeline owned by Enterprise Products.
Also during the meeting, the board voted to approve a two-year extension of the WCAD’s depository contract with First National Bank. Chief Appraiser Brian Stahl said funds derived from the district’s tax-collection activities are deposited into that account.
In other business, Vice President Scott Sisti, who presided over the meeting, said that Wilson County officials had proposed that instead of performing renovations to its current offices on Railroad Street in Floresville -- which has been a topic of discussion for a few years -- the WCAD could occupy space that would become available after the renovation of Wilson County Courthouse Annex III and the Wilson County Courthouse, both in Floresville. For more on this project, see related article, page 1A.
The board briefly discussed the idea, but quickly reached a consensus that such a move would not be in the district’s best interest.
During his chief appraiser’s report, Stahl informed the board that longtime board member Lynn Ray West had recently resigned. The voting entities have 45 days from the resignation to nominate replacement directors, from which the board will select his successor.
West represented the city of Stockdale and the Stockdale Independent School District. The school district Nov. 12 nominated former Wilson County Auditor Ray Wolff to succeed West. See related article, page 7A.
***In attendance: board members Jim Yanta, Scott Sisti, Frank Pruski, and Robert Gregory; Chief Appraiser Brian Stahl, Assistant Chief Appraiser Jennie Coldewey, Administrative Assistant Annette Pfeil, and Collections Manager Jo Ann Wiatrek
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