Shirley Johnson and Shirley Martin, Co-Chairs for the Property Tax Freeze for Seniors 65 and older and the Disabled, made a plea to the Denton City Council on August 16 to freeze property taxes on their own volition instead of forcing the citizens of Denton to follow through with a petition and have the proposal placed on the May 2017 ballot.
In 2003, the Texas State Senate and the Texas House overwhelmingly passed House Joint Resolution 16 at the 78th Texas Legislature.
Prop. 13 HJR 16 states, ”The constitutional amendment to permit counties, cities and towns, and junior college districts to establish an ad valorem tax freeze on residence homesteads of the disabled and of the elderly and their spouses.” It was followed by 81 percent of Texas voters voting in favor.
This legislation and vote by the people of Texas set in motion the option for a city or county to freeze property taxes for the disabled and seniors 65 and over. It can either be passed by a city council, county commissioners or by a petition that places it on the ballot.
We reminded the Mayor and City Council that as of June 13, 2016 taxes for seniors and the disabled have been frozen in 218 cities, counties and junior college districts and that since 2003, across the state of Texas, all of the petitions and subsequent elections have passed the local initiative to freeze city property taxes for seniors and the disabled. When used, the petitions were never defeated and the vote carried by no less than 70-30 with the majority of cities passing by 80-20 or higher.
A large group of concerned citizens attended the council meeting in support of our Tax Freeze Proposal. They were there to represent the many seniors and disabled who are unable to do this for themselves. We wanted to be very clear, this tax freeze will help the seniors and disabled manage their fixed incomes and allow them to stay in their own homes as long as possible.
We researched the median property value in the City of Denton and found that in 2000 it was $98,000. Now, the median property value is $197,000. This is a 99 percent increase. We must emphasize that fixed incomes do not allow for continuing tax increases.
On behalf of all the citizens of the City of Denton, we respectfully requested that this council give this matter their immediate consideration to help our seniors and disabled in the City of Denton, who by the way, vote at twice the rate of the general public and are in dire need of tax relief.
We stressed they are not asking for a free ride. We are asking that property taxes for seniors and the disabled with a homestead have their property taxes frozen, by our City Council because our incomes are fixed.
We also ask the council to please consider their elected position when they place their vote on this proposal.
All the seniors and disabled in the City of Denton, expect to know the council’s position by no later than September 13, 2016, as we are prepared to move forward with our petition.
If Council returns a vote in favor of passing the Tax Freeze for Seniors and the Disabled Proposal as “yes,” the freeze will take place in January 2017.
If Council returns a “No” vote, the council is telling all seniors and the disabled that they want to spend extra city time and money in the process of forcing this group to have the proposal placed on the May 2017 ballot.
A “No” vote for this proposal is telling the citizens of Denton that this council does not have the best interest of it’s citizens in mind.
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