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Junk Yard Dogs tries to short-circuit city appeal

Thursday, March 3, 2016 by Jo Clifton

Attorneys for the commercial property owner known as Junk Yard Dogs LP have filed a motion to dismiss the city’s appeal on its case against the Travis Central Appraisal District and local commercial property owners. In November, the city lost its lawsuit to declare portions of the Texas property tax code unconstitutional. Travis County District Judge Tim Sulak ruled that the city did not have standing, or the legal authority, to argue against the tax code, and he dismissed the case. The city filed an appeal on Jan. 25, asking the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals to reverse the judge’s ruling. Junk Yard Dogs LP is the name of the corporation that owns the office building where the appraisal appeal firm Protax is located. Attorneys Lorri Michel and Bill Aleshire are among those representing Junk Yard Dogs. After the city lost in court, Mayor Steve Adler said, “We need a court to rule on the fairness of the property tax system. The court’s decision today did not reach this question. That’s frustrating. The city of Austin’s challenge is brave, creative and in uncharted territory. We’re going to keep trying until we find a way to make the tax system more fair.” Aleshire told the Austin Monitor that property owners are still having problems because of the continuing lawsuit. It is causing chaos, he said, because “nobody knows what their 2015 taxes are going to be.”

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