Denton County officials consider lowering tax rate

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Denton County Auditor Jeff May discussing a portion of the proposed budget with the Denton County Commissioners Court. (Photo by Dawn Cobb)

Denton County Commissioners on Tuesday reviewed a recommended 2019-2020 year budget of $321.5 million with a recommended tax rate of $0.225278.

The recommended tax rate, if approved by Commissioners on Sept. 17, would be a tax rate cut of 0.131221 percent from the current adopted rate and would be the lowest tax rate for Denton County since 1986.

The proposed tax rate is also the second lowest in a top 15 Texas counties 2018-2019 survey. Across the state, tax rates for 254 counties range from $0.153169 to $1.150639.

A projected revenue summary for the county reflects several increases and decreases including:

  • An approximate $23.2 million increase on total taxable value of all property in the county
  • An estimated $600,000 increase in vehicle registrations due to an increasing population leading to a stronger market in vehicle sales
  • A budgeted decrease of $1.6 million in fees from the County Clerk’s office, various Justices of the Peace and Constables
  • And a budgeted decrease of $1 million in fines from Justices of the Peace as well as County and District Courts.

Denton County continues to face challenges in keeping up with fast-paced growth, officials said. As of Jan. 1, the estimated population was 874,240 with around 82 people moving into Denton County every day.

While 66 new positions were requested for the upcoming fiscal year, the recommended budget includes only 27.73 new positions to handle increased growth demands in juvenile detention (10), child abuse (4) as well as cyber security (2) and workload (5.73).

The recommended budget also includes 31 positions deferred from last year’s budget. Of those 31 positions, 21 were for public safety and eight for the new 462nd District Court as well as to handle an increasing caseload in the Child Protective Services Division of the District Attorney’s office.

The number of county employees per capita (or 1,000 residents) has continued to drop in the past decade from 2.38 for the 2009-2010 budget year to a recommended 2.05 employees per capita for the 2019-2020 budget year.

On Aug. 27, a public hearing on the proposed tax rate is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. during the Denton County Commissioners Court meeting in the Courthouse-on-the-Square.

On Sept. 10, a public hearing on the proposed tax rate will begin at 7 p.m. at the same location.

On Sept. 17, the regular meeting at 9 a.m. will include a public hearing on the proposed budget beginning at 10 a.m. and a public meeting to adopt the budget and tax rate.

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