The Denton County Commissioners Court will spend the next few weeks discussing its budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
There will be a meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the budget and another one at 9 a.m. Aug. 27 to review the proposed tax rate.
A public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 10 for the proposed tax rate, and a public hearing is set for Sept. 17 to approve the budget and tax rate.
Tuesday commissioners received a presentation from Michelle French, the county’s tax assessor/collector, following the certification of the county’s tax roll.
She said based on the certified tax roll the effective tax rate is projected to be $0.215347 per $100 valuation, which is down from $0.225574 from 2018-19.
The rollback rate is projected to be $0.22576, which would be a decrease from $0.235052.
But property values are on the rise, meaning even with any tax rate decrease residents could see a higher property tax bill.
Michelle French, Denton County tax assessor/collector said the net taxable value throughout the county in 2019, based on the certified tax rolls that were recently released, are $106.2 billion. A year ago the values were $96.2 billion.
“We did have a lot of new value hitting the roll, which is great,” said Judge Andy Eads. “So we’re very pleased about the growth in the county.”
Eads said the commissioners have done their part to help residents in response to those property value increases.
“As those values have gone up we’ve continued to lower our rate over the years,” Eads said. “People would be paying considerably more if we as a court hadn’t made the decision to lower that rate routinely.”
French said the average taxable value of a residential homestead is $334,000.
“When that’s an average, you are going to be paying taxes on that amount of whatever that average is,” French said.
Commissioners said some of the biggest concerns they hear from residents is their tax bills.
“I have to remind them, yes you’ve had an increased value and that’s why you’ve had increased taxes, but remember at one point you want to sell that property,” Commissioner Ron Marchant said. “And at some point you’ll want to substantiate the value of that not only through market analysis but through the appraisal district. But if you don’t think they have applied that fairly, you have the right to protest.”
French said the protests continue to grow as well. In 2018 there were 86,610 protests filed in Denton County and 95,065 filed in 2019, French said. She said the value of the properties under protest is about $5.6 million more than it was in 2018.
“The actual number of protests filed was higher this year than I believe any other year in the past,” French said. “But once the appraisal district was able to work through those protests and get those taken care of … the dollar amount is right in line as far as the values (and) is what we expected.”
French said the reason for the increase in protests is simply a better understanding by property owners of what they can do.
“I think at this point it’s a matter of property owners becoming more aware of what their rights and responsibilities are,” French said. “I think it’s a matter of property owners knowing they have the right and ability to protest.”