Property tax breaks up for debate in Missouri City

Things are still a bit of a mess at the Brimage residence. You can really see it when you go inside. Two feet of water will do that. 

"I'll bet we've spent about $30,000 and we've still got quite a bit left to do. How much will insurance pick up.? We didn't have flood insurance. This is not in a flood zone they said we didn't need it and here we are," said the homeowner.

But he and some of his neighbors will at least get a break on property taxes. Sugar Land is one of the 26 jurisdictions in Fort Bend County that has opted to reassess property taxes in the wake of Harvey.  According to state law, once the governor declares a disaster, a county can allow for such reappraisals. Fort Bend County appraiser Glenn Whitehead is in charge of crunching the numbers.

"Total properties we are looking at, the last estimate is slightly over ten thousand," said Whitehead.

Many of those properties are in Missouri City. City leaders there are contemplating reappraisals. The problem is for many governments costs went up because of Harvey.. and they still have to provide the same services. Reappraisals will cost them money to perform  and tax revenue down the line.

"There is no free lunch," said Whitehead.

Here's how it works for jurisdictions that have opted in. Property owners will have to pay the full tax from between Jan.1 and Aug. 28. They could get a break on the new appraised value from that date to the end of the year. At the end of the day homeowners might not end up getting a huge break. For example, a $250,000 home that suffered $50,000 in damage would only yield a $98 tax break.

"Anything helps.anything helps at this point.. I don't think anybody will get a completely fair shake, but anything helps." said Brimage.

For more information, visit the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District website at