Stern likely to be AD board choice
The choice of a representative to the Nueces County Appraisal District board of directors now hinges on either the Calallen or West Oso school board.
Lorraine Stern, the Port Aransas nominee of both the Port Aransas ISD and the Port Aransas city council, is also the nominee of the Tuloso-Midway school board. That gives Stern 4,742 votes of a possible total of 10,001, split among the entities and based on population. A majority is needed to be elected to the appraisal district board.
Port Aransas ISD Superintendent Billy Wiggins told the South Jetty that Flour Bluff, Calallen and West Oso school district representatives had assured him that their boards would go along with the Port Aransas nominee. Flour Bluff trustees, however, this month named George Canales as their nominee to the board. Flour Bluff ISD has 2,720 of the total number of votes.
Still, if either Calallen ISD (1,810 votes) or West Oso ISD (729 votes) chooses Stern as their nominee, she would have more than half the total votes.
Spokesmen for both Calallen and West Oso said this week that their boards have decided to wait and look at the ballot before committing to a nomination. The Calallen school board meets Monday, Oct. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at 4205 Wildcat Drive, Corpus Christi; the West Oso board meets Monday, Oct. 22, at 6:30 p.m. at 5050 Rockford, Corpus Christi.
Rising property appraisals prompted Port Aransas officials to nominate someone to sit on the appraisal district board. Stern was the unanimous choice of Port Aransas school trustees and the near-unanimous choice of city council members.
At the Sept. 20 city council meeting, Councilman Charles Bujan voted against Stern's nomination with a simple "no" vote, adding no discussion or explanation.
"Unfortunately, I can't say," he said Monday, when asked his reason for voting against Stern.
Stern, who is also a member of the Port Aransas school board, would replace Anna Flores of Corpus Christi in Place 6 on the seven-member appraisal district board. Flores has already said she does not wish to serve on the board again for family reasons.
Appraisal district directors oversee the process by which property values are decided by district appraisers. In the past few years, property values in Port Aransas have shot up dramatically, increasing in some instances by more than 200 percent.
Property values are the basis for assessing property taxes by the City of Port Aransas, the Port Aransas ISD, Nueces County and a number of other taxing entities.
The rise in property values became so steep this year that city council members went to the appraisal district's review board to protest and later took the extremely rare step of protesting appraisals as a governmental entity to the district board.
Neither protest had any effect. Appraisal district board members serve two-year terms that expire on Dec. 31 of odd-numbered years. School districts and the city have until Oct. 12 to submit nominations for the ballot; the appraisal district board is expected to accept the votes in December.