In a tale of two taxing districts, Fort Worth residents will likely see a tax rate reduction on their city tax bill, but not on the bill from Tarrant County.
The Fort Worth City Council has proposed to reduce its property tax rate by about 3.75 cents while the county commissioners court voted to approve a property tax increase of 6.9 percent over the effective tax rate.
Both Fort Worth and Tarrant County increased their annual budgets.
The county tax rate is the same as last year’s tax rate, but because of increases in the appraisal values of the tax base, state law requires the county to adopt it as a tax increase.
Commissioner Gary Fickes was the sole dissenter against the tax increase.
County Commissioner Devan Allen said she has received a lot of feedback from Tarrant County residents concerned about their property taxes and the burden it is placing on them. “I would have liked to adopt a lower tax rate,” she said, “but to meet the needs of the county and provide necessary criminal justice services, we need to keep the same rate.”
An official vote on the city of Fort Worth’s tax rate and budget proposal will take place next Tuesday, September 17.
The Tarrant County tax rate of $0.234 per $100 valuation is significantly lower than the Fort Worth city tax rate of $0.7475 per $100 valuation. For an average home in the city of Fort Worth, ten percent of the tax bill goes to Tarrant County and 25 percent goes to the city.
Fort Worth also collects sales taxes to fund its budget. It expects sales tax revenue to top $172 million this year, up over sixty percent in the last decade.
Both Tarrant County and the city of Fort Worth will take in over $40 million in additional property tax revenue due to increases in property appraisals or new property added to the tax rolls.
Notable increases in the county budget include approximately three percent salary increases for elected officials in the county and an increase in the county’s reserves balance by nearly $19 million (to 13.5 percent of the budget).
The reserves increase serves to maintain a AAA bond rating, explained Helene Geise, the county’s interim director of budget and risk management.
Fort Worth’s budget also has proposed increases, including a new “Diversity and Inclusion” department it has created to “protect and promote human rights and equal opportunity for all populations.”
The city’s economic development department will see an additional $3.1 million to use as “incentive payouts to businesses with new development in Fort Worth.”
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Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.