On Tuesday, the Dallas County Commissioners Court approved — by a vote of three to two — a property tax rate above the effective rate. The approved rate for 2020 is $0.243100 per $100 of value. The effective rate would have been $0.239549 per $100 of value.
The rate has remained at $0.243100 per $100 of value since 2011, but with appraisal increases year to year, this has resulted in tax increases on Dallas County residents.
Compared to the previous fiscal year, over $44 million in extra property tax dollars will be raised from the appraisal increase. The county’s total appraisal increased by 7.49 percent.
For this year’s appraisal, the adopted rate will bring in roughly $9.3 million more from Dallas County property owners than the effective rate would have.
In total, property taxes for Dallas County will increase 7.5 percent from last year to this year — falling just below the current eight percent threshold to trigger an election for voters to either approve or deny the increase.
Dallas County District Two commissioner, J.J. Koch, told The Texan, “We could have gone down to the effective rate and still done a lot of the things we wanted to do, including raising employee salaries by four percent.”
Koch, along with County Judge Clay Jenkins, voted against the adopted tax rate.
He added during the meeting, “We just expect the taxpayers to be too stupid to give us what we need in the future. So, for their own good — very paternalistically — we’re going to take what we can get now.”
“I hope the taxpayers hold us to the fire when we out and say we need more than 3.5 percent, I want them to ask us what about that additional eight percent you took out of my pocket,” Koch concluded.
District One Commissioner Theresa Daniel, who voted for the increase, did not immediately reply to request for comment.
Texas’ second-largest county is one of many cities and counties considering raising property taxes above 3.5 percent.
Last week, a pair of conservative Lubbock County commissioners decided to play hooky to avoid a tax increase and ensure the adoption of the effective tax rate. Under state law, a quorum of commissioners is required in order to levy taxes.
They feared that if they showed up, their colleagues would opt for a similar approach as Dallas County and adopt the previous year’s rate, thus raising taxes on their constituents.
Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.