FROM THE DESK OF DENTON COUNTY JUDGE ANDY EADS
Denton County’s Fiscal Year 2021-2022 proposed budget earmarks an estimated $12 million for public and mental health, road maintenance and improvements, new district and probate courts, cybersecurity measures, law enforcement and emergency preparedness among other elements to meet the challenges of a growing population, an ongoing pandemic and to build continuity of services to the public.
We designed this budget with you in mind. We believe it is important to focus on roads, mental health and our law enforcement and judicial system while at the same time ensuring continuity of services to the public.
During this past year, all of us have faced many challenges but as our population nears the 1 million mark, we must look forward to prepare for the future.
Some highlights in our 2021-2022 proposed budget include:
- Reclassifying a number of positions in law enforcement to better retain existing talent and experience in a highly competitive market. An additional eight positions will be added with 271 positions being reclassified. A new Human Trafficking Unit will be created to target a growing issue in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.
- Opening two additional courts in FY 2021-2022 including the 481st District Court and the Probate Court 2. Total costs for both courts are estimated at $1.2 million. The courts will handle increased demand as county growth escalates.
- Allocating approximately $1 million for additional staffing in public health including a Disease Intervention Specialist, Registered Nurse and three Assistant Program Coordinators. A new mental health services program to help post-partum depression patients who are eligible for the Family Planning Grant resources is included along with increased funding for public health and MHMR.
- Increasing the road project planning in the Permanent Improvement Fund by $2 million, doubling the amount to pay for roads. An estimated $1 million will be spent on capital equipment for roads, and $852,250 is projected for surface treatment, flex base, lumber, fencing, culvert repairs and more.
We continue to consider “out of the box” ideas for increasing services to you while maintaining a conservative view on new positions. We have reorganized several departments, eliminating some positions while creating new positions better targeted to delivering needed services.
The county’s main source of revenue is from property taxes, which is different from municipalities, which also receive sales tax revenues. The proposed tax rate of $0.233086 still falls well below all but one of the top 15 most populated Texas counties in terms of the county tax rate.
Denton County, with an estimated population of 933,220, ranks the second lowest in the county tax rate category and is the lowest in the county-wide rate. County-wide rates include additional tax rates for such districts as hospitals, community college, and flood control and port authority – none of which exist in Denton County.
According to the Texas Comptroller’s website, Denton County’s tax rate in FY 2021 was the sixth lowest among 254 counties. Four of the remaining five counties had significantly less population, ranging from Midland County with a tax rate of $0.128844 to Reagan County with a tax rate of $0.220020.
For example, using the proposed tax rate of $0.233086 and the average 2021 Denton County home value of $359,651, a resident living in the City of Denton would owe 10 percent of their overall annual property taxes to Denton County. The Denton Independent School District tax rate accounts for 64 percent, while the City of Denton tax rate accounts for 26 percent of the annual amount paid by property owners.
The Court will hold a public hearing on the proposed tax rate at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Another public hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21, with a final vote on both the proposed tax rate and the proposed budget on that date.
We are committed to ensuring the best use of your tax dollars and continue to look at cost-saving measures to keep tax rates as low as possible.
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If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my office number is 940-349-2820. For more information, register for my newsletter at www.Dentoncounty.gov/countyjudgenewslettersignup