Homestead Exemption Behind the Numbers – Color Me Exempt

This post provides additional information and commentary about a local Austin 20% homestead exemption and its effects. Read Color Me Exempt in the Austin Chronicle and also Cui Bono – Who Benefits in the Austin Chronicle in order to have context for the information in this post. Note that the Chronicle article published ‘average’ values, which is perfectly valid. Another way to look at it is to use ‘median’ values, which is also valid. The difference between the two is relatively minor – a few bucks on the high end, but nothing that makes much difference. Appraisal Data (TCAD, WCAD) The underlying data is provided by the central appraisal districts. The data files they provide are complicated and their documentation is weak. There are many exceptions within the data, as well as fields that have been added, changed, or removed over time. There is not a 100% accurate & reliable way to easily link the parcel file with the tax data, due to various exceptions and strange corner cases in the data. While those challenges are frustrating, most can be overcome. As someone who has been writing real-estate software, off and on, for the last 7 or 8 years, I am very familiar with the challenges in the data files provided by TCAD and WCAD. If you are attempting to recreate my results and you run into issues, I would be more than happy to meet with you and help you with your database. The data in my system includes about 99.4% of the homestead-exempt properties. There are only a few hundred missing properties (out of more than 130,000). The error...
Pool 5 – Hail Mary email to Council

Pool 5 – Hail Mary email to Council

This is a copy of an email that I sent to the mayor and council and some in the media on Monday, Nov 17, 2014 at about 1pm. I am attempting to get them to follow the law in awarding the Fair Campaign fund, rather than ignoring one part of it. Hanging in the balance is about $55,000 of campaign funding — it’s just a question of who’s going to get it …[click post title to read more]

Pool Saga – Part 3

Pool Saga – Part 3

.. Austin’s Fair Campaign Chapter definitive info, weird complaints, questions about the interpretation of the law or what the Clerk may or may not be doing, smackdowns .. [Click the post title to read the rest]

Pool Campaign – Part Deux

Pool Campaign – Part Deux

.. I would recommend that they get proactive – get on the phone and make sure that you are going to be awarded the money from the Fair Campaign Fund; make sure that the personal funds checkbox doesn’t cause an issue .. [Click the post title to read the rest]