Winter Texans rethink owning mobile homes after tax hike

Winter Texans are drawn to the Rio Grande Valley because of the weather and affordable cost of living.

"Nice community, lots of things to do," John Cruse said.

Cruse isn't quiet a Winter Texan but has made the Valley his permanent home while holding down a full-time job.

This week his cost of living here went up when he got this notice in the mail.

"It's a little disconcerning to see how the mobile home could increase that much," Cruse said.

His home was appraised $14,000 more than the previouis year meaning his property taxes raised a few hundred dollars.

"How they can assume that the property can increase 33 percent or $14,000, is just hard to fathum where they are getting their numbers from," Cruse said.

He isn't the only one, every person in his mobile home park in Donna saw large increases in their property value.

We went to the Hidalgo County appraisal district to find out why.

"I would say it's been about ten years or more since we changed the mobile home rates," Jorge Gonzalez, real estate supervisor at the Hidalgo County Appraisal District, said.

Gonzalez said the district needed to raise tax rates to state within state law.

"We actually have to be as close to market value to 100 percent," Gonzalez said.

Meaning mobile homes in the Valley were appraised much lower than the current market value and that's why rates were drastically increased.

"I have some (cases) where a house was appraised at $20,000 and come to find out it TMs $40,000," he said.

Cruse bought his home for $22,000 but now it's appraised at $40,000.

"It's just hard to explain," Cruse said.

Cruse said the incrase in property taxes has many Winter Texans questioning whether owning a mobile home in Hidalgo County is worth the extra expense.

There is a way to dispute an appraisal rate by filing out a notice of protest.

It can be found online at

Deadline is June 2nd.