Monday, July 15, 2024

Edmondson: What does ‘property tax relief’ really mean to you?

After weeks of committee hearings and leadership squabbles, a second special session called by Governor Abbott specifically to address property tax relief was finally successful. On July 13, SB2 was passed by the Texas Senate after having already cleared the Texas House and has been sent to the Governor for signature. Governor Abbott is expected to sign the bill which promises to lower school district taxes and also provides an increased homestead exemption of $100,000. A companion bill, SB3 gives franchise tax relief to many small business owners. These bills on property taxes must be accepted by the Texas voters, as they require a change to the Texas Constitution. That election will be held on November 7, 2023 with early voting from October 23 through November 3.

For our local seniors, many are already enjoying lower taxes thanks to the tax caps from the county, some cities and school districts. But this new property tax bill also is certain to further reduce seniors’ property taxes, though it’s not yet clear how much or exactly how the process will work. We are told by the Chief Appraiser of the Denton Central Appraiser District (DCAD) that those details are being worked out now so we should know more by fall.

The cap on how much homesteaded property values may increase for DCAD appraisals remains in effect at 10% annually. And while the school district tax rates are actually set by the Texas Education Agency (based on average number of students and other factors), their ISD tax rates will be compressed (lowered) with the state increasing its public school funding to make up the difference. And consequently, we taxpayers will have less taxes to pay!

All the Denton County legislators supported this huge tax cut, with our Senators Tan Parker and Drew Springer both co-authoring the bill in the Senate and each of our five House members also co-sponsoring in that chamber. Our legislators (House members Lynn Stucky, Jared Patterson, Kronda Thimesch, Ben Bumgardner and Richard Hayes) all were instrumental in the “sausage making” required in getting these bills passed, so we should express our thanks when we see them!

Another interesting twist in SB2 is the way the Board of Directors for DCAD is selected. Currently, 5 members are “elected” by the various taxing entities in Denton County, including ISDs, cities, towns, etc. who each have voting strength in proportion to the tax dollars they levy. Thus, large entities such as Lewisville and Denton ISDs have many more votes than, for instance, the Ponder ISD or the town of Ponder itself. Beginning January 1, 2024, three additional board members will be elected by the public in the May municipal elections. More information on qualifications, etc. for these unpaid positions will be forthcoming, so if you are interested in running for one of those three spots, let me know and I will be sure to get you filing information as soon as I have it.

In the meantime, some of you may want to consider some of the part-time paid positions which will soon become available for the DCAD Appraisal Appeals Board. These are the people who received thorough training and then meet with folks who are appealing their property’s DCAD appraised value. Again, let me know if you are interested in learning more about these paid positions and I can connect you with the appropriate DCAD staff.

Shortly, the property tax process will become more inclusive for almost anyone who would like to be involved. So, stay tuned and let’s get ready for lower property taxes!

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

Related Articles

Popular This Week