HOUSTON - A Houston widow, who just lost her husband of ten years, says she and her kids may now lose their home as well. Her husband was in a coma when he missed a property tax dispute meeting and now an appraisal review board won’t agree to reschedule.
In the letter the Harris County Appraisal Review Board told Amanda Cantley, "your request (for a new meeting) can not be granted," which leaves her stuck with trying to come up with the money to pay for a 24% property tax increase, something her husband made plans to take care of, but he died before he could.
It was there in their home where daddy-daughter dances made for magical memories and father and son could be seen sending remote control cars careening around the couch.
"We moved into our home at the beginning of 2020, my husband loved this home. He actually convinced me to move here," explains Amanda Cantley, but their house no longer holds a family of four.
Blake Cantley was suddenly hospitalized July 7, 2021, with an illness his wife doesn’t yet want to reveal.
"And he continued to get extremely sick while hospitalized and was put in the ICU on July 18, 2021, where he was eventually intubated." A day later, he missed the Harris County Appraisal District property tax appointment to dispute their tax bill, which had increased by 24% and on August 15, 2021, the 39-year-old died.
Mrs. Cantley wrote a letter explaining what happened and asking for the HCAD meeting to be rescheduled. The Harris County Appraisal Review Board sent her that letter saying no.
"It was shocking honestly. I understand that there are rules and policies and we need those things in place, but there’s also life that happens. People get sick. People die. Things happen and there should be some exceptions. We’re all humans. There should be some compassion," she says.
So as the mother of two tries to adjust to now being a single mom after her 5 and 7-year-old kids had their dad taken away from them, she’s also trying to figure out how to take care of a tax bill that may have been able to be decreased in that missed dispute meeting.
"My husband was the breadwinner. I run a small business. I’m trying to figure out the finances. Our community has completely embraced us. They’re almost an extended family, our neighbors are, and we’re trying to keep our life as normal as possible and stay in the home that we had our last memories with my husband. You would think, especially right now, that people would show a little bit more compassion given everything that we’re going through as a community and as a country."
A spokesperson for the Harris County Appraisal District says they don’t want to inflict any more pain on the Cantley family and says the ARB, which sent the letter, is a citizen review board. HCAD says it is now aware of the tragic situation and Mrs. Cantley will get a new hearing.