Attorney urges downtown group protest

April 14, 2019

HARLINGEN — Along the Jackson Street business district, some property owners are mulling a mass protest of proposed property values that could spark the area’s steepest tax hike in years.

During a meeting Thursday night, an attorney “guaranteed” he could help property owners bring down the Cameron County Appraisal District’s expected increases in values.

Attorney Michael Benton encouraged them to band together to protest any increases.

“I’ve heard all of your concerns and they’re clearly legitimate,” said Benton, a Brownsville attorney who handles such protests.

Benton told the crowd of owners and merchants he charges half the money of what he saves property owners.

“If you all get together and hire us, I guarantee we can get you a reduced rate,” Benton said.

This week, the Cameron County Appraisal District is expected to mail notices showing property owners their newly proposed values.

As a result, property owners are expected to launch protests that could run into July.

“They are preliminary values until we go through the process,” Chief Appraiser Richard Molina said of the protest period. “We welcome them to bring us rental contracts, sales contracts to help us see where we are.”