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Denton County approves $396M budget and lowest tax rate since 1986

An aerial view of an empty meeting room.
File photo
Denton Record-Chronicle
The county judge leads meetings of the Denton County Commissioners Court, which holds meetings at the Denton County Administrative Courthouse, shown here in 2021.

Commissioners approved Denton County’s previously proposed $396 million budget for the 2024 fiscal year during their meeting Tuesday.

During the Aug. 15 meeting, county commissioners were told that about $3.54 million of the funds would be used for public safety, including a 14% slide in the pay scale that would increase compensation for law enforcement.

The proposed public safety funding is based on the impact of inflation on various public safety budgets, increasing the funding for inmate food and budgeting a portion for out-of-county inmate expenses, according to staff.

“We can celebrate the fact that we’re taking care of our public safety and our law enforcement and all of our employees,” Denton County Judge Andy Eads said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Commissioners also approved the recommended proposed tax rate of 18.9485 cents per $100 property valuation, nearly a 3-cent reduction from last year’s rate of 21.7543 cents per $100 valuation.

The 18.9485-cent tax rate is a no-new-revenue rate — the rate that would provide Denton County with approximately the same amount of revenue as previous years.

“I am so proud to be able to vote for a budget that is the lowest tax rate we’ve had since 1986,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Dianne Edmondson said. “That’s a long time ago, and we’ve done a great job of managing the taxpayer’s money.”

According to the commissioners’ memo, the approved tax rate will also raise more taxes for maintenance and operations than last year’s tax rate. The memo says the tax rate will effectively be raised by 0.63% and will decrease taxes for maintenance and operations on a $100,000 home by about $21.13.

Precinct 2 commissioner Kevin Falconer said that while confusing wording may throw off some people off, the no-new-revenue tax still means they will not collect any more revenue for the average homeowner.

“What seems like conflicting things in here — we’re talking about raising something and then decreasing,” Falconer said. “The fact of that matter is we’re going to decrease your taxes ... for the average homeowner, which is great.”

The new fiscal year is from Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024.

Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation

Also on Tuesday, commissioners approved a court proclamation recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month in Denton County.

Lilyan Prado Carrillo, president of Denton’s League of United Latin American Citizens, briefly discussed celebration events happening from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 with commissioners.

A Denton County-hosted event will take place on the Square lawn Thursday evening to present an all-female mariachi band, Mariachi Rosas Divinas, and ballet folklorico dancers. The event is scheduled from 6:30 to 8 p.m.