FBTX ~ Submitted to the City Council for their consideration, the proposed 2020-21 fiscal year budget for the upcoming year includes a reduction in the property tax rate for the second time in three years, an increased senior exemption and increased funding for Police and Fire Departments.
The proposed $144.4 million budget includes a full one-cent reduction in the City’s portion of the property tax rate to 58.9 cents for every $100 of appraised value. This follows a quarter-cent reduction two years ago. In addition, the implementation of a $15,000 increase in the over-65 exemption will equal an additional four-cents reduction in the tax rate for those qualifying seniors. City leaders explained that City property taxes comprise only about 24 percent of a resident’s total property tax bill. Dallas County, school districts and various other entities like Parkland Hospital and the Community College District make up the bulk of each bill.
The City Manager is proposing to leave the Water and Sewer rate and the Stormwater Utility fee constant from the previous year. General fund expenditures are also flat. Any debt service for proposed renovations to the Manske Library have been absorbed in the reduced property tax rate. The budget also includes increased funding for public safety, street revitalization and Economic Development, completion of the I-35E Corridor Vision Study, residential revitalization programs and installation of solar panels at three City facilities.
Two key projects include the addition of $3 million in funding for the Non-Bond Capital Improvement Project fund for utility replacements, specifically inflow and infiltration to reduce the cost of wastewater treatments. Also, as the final phase of the street bond nears completion, the budget proposes to double the amount of pay-as-you-go funding for annual street construction to $1 million with a plan to gradually increase to $2 million by Fiscal Year 2023.
The multiple impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are reflected in the proposed budget with sales tax revenues expected to decrease by 5.74 percent while the Hotel/Motel fund is expected to decline by 49 percent due to reductions in travel. However, the budget includes continued business grant funding for COVID-related expenditures as well as increased funding to assist residents with food and rental-assistance.
The City Council may discuss the proposed budget at any of the regular meetings scheduled in August and September, specifically August 10 & 24 and September 15 & 21. Additionally, the Council will discuss the budget in detail in a two-day retreat planned for City Hall on August 11 & 12.