The Tarrant County proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which includes a proposal for the commissioners’ and all county elected officials’ salaries to be increased by three percent, is set for a vote next week on September 8.
County commissioners are currently paid $182,986.18 in salary plus benefits according to Assistant Director of Human Resources Robin Worthy. In comparison, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is paid $153,750 per year.
Other county employees will also be eligible for merit and step increases as well, Worthy told The Texan.
The county’s proposed budget is based on maintaining the current property tax rate of $0.234000 per $100 valuation.
The average annual property tax bill for a single-family homeowner in Tarrant County will increase from $512.11 to $521.32. This increase results from an average single-family resident in the county being appraised 1.8 percent higher than last year, from $218,850 to $222,786.
In 2011, the average Tarrant County homeowner paid $349.90 in county property taxes.
If adopted, Tarrant County will have maintained the same property tax rate for the last three years. The rate is about the same as Dallas County’s rate, but significantly lower than Harris County at $0.407130.
“The FY2021 General Fund proposed revenue budget, excluding cash and contingent revenue, represents a 1.27% decrease over the FY2020 revenue budget,” the county administrator’s budget letter to the commissioners stated.
County Administrator G.K. Maenius pointed out to the commissioners court at its special budget meeting early in August that in 2015 the county was receiving over $2.5 billion in revenue from mineral leases, but that has declined significantly to about $650 million.
“That’s not unusual because the volume of gas goes down over time, but also the price of gas has gone down significantly,” Maenius said.
However, the county added about $5.3 billion in new construction, mostly commercial, to the property tax rolls this year.
The largest budget increase from last year is $17.5 million to the general administration budget. $8.6 million of the county budget’s increases will be for pay increases. The county has also appropriated $5.2 million in counsel fees as it anticipates an increase in indigent defense needs. The county budget anticipates having over $66 million in reserves.
Usually the county bases its projections on collected 100 percent of property taxes, but this year it is planning based on a 99.5 percent collection rate.
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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.