Procedure begins to replace Nieto on PCAD board

Alfred Muñiz 

MARFA – Presidio County Appraisal District directors accepted the resignation of Carlos Nieto as Presidio ISD’s representative on the appraisal district board at its August 3 meeting, triggering a replacement process that includes five of the six taxing entities represented on the board.

Directors also accepted the 2016 outside audit.  Nieto resigned after he was indicted by a Midland federal grand jury on felony fraud and bribery charges earlier this summer.  Director Jon Johnson made the motion to accept Nieto’s resignation, director Joanne Smith made the second, and the motion was adopted unanimously, with directors Cinderela Guevara and Robert Halpern voting in the affirmative. Directors Isela Nuñez and Eloy Aranda were absent. 


While directors initially thought that Presidio ISD alone would nominate someone to replace Nieto, Chief Appraiser Cynthia Ramirez explained that state law requires that each taxing entity may nominate by resolution. The law is found in Section 6.03 of the Texas Property Tax Code. 

As required by law, Ramirez notified the taxing entities of the board vacancy. Those entities have 45 days to make a nomination by resolution. The PCAD board is set to meet in special session on Monday, September 18, receive the nominations and vote on a new director.  “I would hope we defer to Presidio ISD for a nominee,”


Halpern said, surprised that each taxing entity may nominate. 
“I think we will be very diligent who is appointed,” Guevara said. 
When the PCAD board met in Presidio on Monday, Presidio ISD Superintendent Dennis McEntire acknowledged that while each taxing entity can nominate a candidate, he would hope that the board would highly consider the school district’s nominee. 
He introduced Alfred Muñiz, a Presidio native, civic leader, and Presidio school trustee as the school district’s likely nominee. 


At present, PCAD board members are Guevara and Aranda, representing the Presidio County; Smith, representing the city of Marfa; Johnson and Halpern, representing Marfa ISD; and Nuñez, representing the city of Presidio. The Big Bend Regional Hospital District doesn’t have a seat at the board. 

Since Nieto was the board chair, directors named Guevara as the new board chair and Smith as vice president. At Monday’s meeting, newly appointed Presidio County Tax Assessor-Collector Natalia Williams was named secretary since Arroyo has retired and is no longer on the panel.  Directors were pleased to receive an “unqualified” 2016 fiscal audit from Certified Public Accountant Doak Painter. The audit had no findings, another plus in the report. 

Directors praised the work of Ramirez and her staff, as well because there was a $36,500 surplus in the 2016 budget. 
Ramirez said savings were made in the contract consultant’s expenses, that there were fewer appraisal protests in 2016 and in travel and stipends to an Appraisal Review board member. 
Ramirez is required by law to notify the taxing entities of the surplus, but said PCAD may ask to retain the funds for its legal expenses. The appraisal district is being sued in civil court by a property owner who has disputed their appraisal as too high. 
The taxing entities, by majority vote, may ask for its portion of the surplus back, or have PCAD retain it.