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Posted on: September 9, 2020

Denton County proposes lower budget, tax rate

budget graphic

Denton County Commissioners approved the 2020-2021 year budget of $319 million with a tax rate of $0.224985.

The tax rate will be a tax rate cut of 0.130062 percent from the current adopted rate and would be the lowest tax rate for Denton County since 1986. The tax rate is also the second lowest in a top 15 Texas counties 2019-2020 survey. Across the state, tax rates for 254 counties range from $0.140000 to $1.183009 with an average rate of $0.579787.

The 2020-2021 budget year tax rate of $0.224985 is lower than the 2019-2020 budget year tax rate of $0.225278 and the no new revenue rate (formerly known as the effective rate) of $0.232491.

“We proposed a rate that is lower than the current year’s tax rate as well as the calculated no new revenue rate,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “If we had gone to the no new revenue rate, the county would have received an additional $8 million. However, based on the 2020 average home value of $341,090, this would have resulted in an average additional cost of $26 per taxpayer.  

“The Court has historically adopted a conservative tax rate, as evidenced by our tax rate history, and comparison to other like entities,” he said. “Not only did we address our needs in this budget, it is a very progressive, forward-looking budget. I would characterize it as a very taxpayer-friendly budget.”

Denton County’s 2020-2021 budget year tax rate is the fourth lowest county tax rate in the state of Texas when compared to 2018-2019 budget year tax rates from other counties in the state of Texas.

“We cut spending this year to ensure the budget would be smaller than last year,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell. “In the last two years we also have worked to assist homeowners with the over 65/disabled exemption tax ceiling and the homestead exemption, which will trim an estimated $8.4 million from our revenues. In light of the tough times, the county opted to take the cut and reduce our budget for the sake of providing these additional exemptions to our residents.”

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

  • An approximate $4.8 million increase on available revenue on total taxable value of all property in the county
  • An estimated $230,000 decrease in vehicle registrations
  • A budgeted increase of $209,461 in fees with most attributable to increases in records preservation fees and judicial services fees
  • And a budgeted decrease of $175,000 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. As of Jan. 1, the estimated population was 901,120 including 758,985 in cities and 142,135 in unincorporated areas.

While 35.65 new positions were requested for the upcoming fiscal year, the adopted budget includes 27.375. The funded positions include staff for the new 467th district court, which opens in January 2021, as well as for mental health staff at the jail and staff with the opening of the new Denton County Administrative Courthouse on Loop 288 in December. 

The budget also includes consolidation of the Precinct 1 and Precinct 4 Road and Bridge departments into one Department of Transportation and Engineering to provide continued professional service on roads and bridges as Denton County continues to grow.

The number of county employees per capita (or 1,000 residents) has continued to drop in the past decade from 2.32 for the 2013-2014 budget year to a recommended 2.02 employees per capita for the 2020-2021 budget year.