Candidate defends residency status, explains exemptions
By LYNETTE SOWELL
With the May 22 primary runoff election fewer than four weeks away, one of the runoff candidates has encountered questions regarding just what his Coryell County residency status us.
Roger Miller is in the runoff election for the position of Coryell County judge and faces current Coryell County District Clerk Janice Gray for that spot. The two were the highest vote-getters in the March 6 primary.
However, Miller, a native of Gatesville and Coryell Coryell County, owns a home in Killeen for which he receives the disabled veteran property tax exemption.
According to records with the Bell County Appraisal District, Miller owns a little more than 2,000-square-foot home located on Platinum Drive in Killeen, for which he was assesed $3,421.56 in property taxes in 2014. With the disabled veteran exemption, Miller pays no property tax on that home at all.
Miller also owns a home on Dodds Creek Road in Gatesville, for which he paid property taxes in the year 2017.
According to property records in both counties, Miller’s house in Killeen was purchased in the year 2006, and the house in Gatesville was purchased in 2016.
When questioned about the Killeen property, Miller said that home is indeed owned by him, but it is a rental property.
“I bought a house in Killeen in December 2006, when the Army moved me there. I lived there until October 2016, when I moved to Gatesville. That Killeen house is now a rental property,” Miller explained. “In November 2016, I bought a house in Gatesville, the house I live in now. In January 2017.”
Miller also said that he contacted the Bell County tax assessor collectors’ office and told them he had moved and needed to remove his property tax exemption, with the individual he spoke with saying she would take care of that.
In the event he should win the race, Miller said he doesn’t plan to file for an exemption, either.
“I have not and do not intend to apply for any exemptions on my house in Gatesville, it’s not a requirement to do so. My thinking on this is, I didn’t come back here with the intent of running for office, but it has always been in the back of my mind that if I did, and I was in the position if I was going to have to make decisions that affected the tax rate, that any elected official that deals with any budget should not have exemptions because you should feel the full impact of your taxing.”
He said that elected officials who have their tax rates frozen due to filing for the over-65 exemption, any tax rate increases don’t affect them.
“I think as an elected official, any action you take should affect you as much or more as anyone else. Until this election plays out, I will not file for any property tax exemptions on my house in Gatesville.”
He said he was not aware that his property tax exemption had not been lifted until approximately two weeks ago, when he received the annual notice from the Bell County Appraisal District and saw his exemption was still in place.
He said he immediately called the appraisal district and was informed that there is a form that must be completed to remove the exemption, which he has since submitted.
“All that being said, none of it really has anything to do with my candidacy, as I understand it. If someone wants to make an issue of something because they hear the word ‘homestead’ in there, well, I live in Coryell county, but if I owe Bell County something, I will pay them. It is not an issue.
“But as long as I am a candidate or in an elected position, I will not have any exemptions on my property in Coryell County.”