It took the Flower Mound Town Council three attempts, on three different versions of the 2019-20 town budget and tax rate, but the result was a unanimous vote of approval on Monday night.
Following months of disagreements, heated arguments, public push-back against certain council members’ conduct toward town staff members and line-item cuts affecting staff and first responders, council members backed down and voted with the majority of residents’ preferences.
The council approved a tax rate of $0.4365 per $100 of assessed value, which is effectively a 2.18-percent increase in the tax rate from this year’s rate of $0.439, due to increased property values.
It was a slight difference from the first attempt of the actual proposed rate of $0.439 per $100 valuation with a 2.77-percent increase in the tax rate.
Deputy Mayor Sandeep Sharma tried to get the rate down to $0.434, but the actual numbers didn’t add up.
Flower Mound CFO Debra Wallace pointed out that in order to adhere to the town’s stated 20-percent reserve, Sharma would need either to find an additional $225,000 in revenue or cut a specific Capital Improvement Project, such as improving Rippy Road.
“It would need some ‘magic’ for it to be done,” said Sharma, not willing to give up.
When he conceded it would also mean going back through all the line items, Mayor Steve Dixon asked: “Are you prepared to find this money at this moment?”
A resounding “no” from both the audience and council members drove a stake in the heart of that idea.
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Claudio Forest quickly shut the door on that proposal and council member Jim Engel proposed the budget and tax rate amounts which were then unanimously passed.