Tomorrow evening will be the final opportunity for residents to speak on the city budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. The City Council meeting will take place at 6pm at City Hall.
Those wishing to speak on the budget or any related issue must sign-up in advance of the meeting by completing a speaker form online at SPEAKER FORM.
You can either speak during Citizen Comment at the start of the meeting or on the actual agenda item which is Item J.2.
As I have listened to fellow residents, the central theme of those speaking to council has been that they are frustrated with their ever increasing city taxes and that many feel that city funds are not being wisely spent, especially at the current time when inflation is at an all-time high and a recession looms.
One must question the wisdom of three of our council members when they look to give more of our tax dollars away to charity and take on “want” projects instead of tightening the “financial belt” and focus on needed items and infrastructure only.
The message below was written by Councilman Richard Jackson and I believe details where we are very clearly.
Please take a few moments to review. You have the right to have your comments heard at all council meetings.
Thank you and I look forward to seeing you soon.
FROM COUNCILMAN RICHARD JACKSON
Neighbors, I wanted to once again alert you to important matters regarding the Farmers Branch 2022/2023 fiscal year budget.
You may have received an email from the Farmers Branch E-News on Thursday stating Council Members agreed on a tax rebate equivalent to 2₵ tax rate reduction, plus a water bill credit of $132. While there was a consensus among the City Council, it was not unanimous. I did not support this result.
I supported a proper 2₵ tax rate reduction + the water bill credit. In an attempt to work with fellow Council Members, I proposed a 3₵ dividend + water bill credit. Council Members remained at 2₵. Again, in an attempt to compromise with fellow Council Members, I proposed to split the difference at 2.5₵ + the water bill credit. Why did I want more in a rebate than in a tax rate reduction? Because if residents are going to give future Councils the ability to collect more property tax revenue under a higher tax rate ceiling, without requiring voter approval, residents deserve a premium. This is a simple financial concept. A majority of Council declined to compromise, sticking with a rebate equivalent to a 2₵ tax rate reduction + water bill credit of $132.
What does this mean to you?
Below is a table illustrating the impact of a tax rebate + water bill credit under varying property values and two tax rate equivalent assumptions. Let’s begin with today assuming no changes.
Despite the voices of many residents urging a proper tax rate reduction via phone, email and in person at the last City Council meeting, a rebate is Council’s current path. Other previously mentioned budget elements remain:
- Increase of property tax exemptions for age 65+ and disabled residents to $100,000 (previously approved by Council; will apply to 2022 tax year)
- $230,000 one-time award to Metrocrest Services for rental assistance to Farmers Branch residents in need
- In lieu of an expired federal grant
- Will come from General Fund balance
- Note: Carrollton and Coppell are using federal grant money to also contribute
- Addison’s contribution is undetermined
- $3.6M cost to change from a 25-year retirement city to 20
- 7% salary increase allocated to public safety + 1% bonuses paid twice over the next year
- $200,000 Neighborhood investment and sharrows (various quality of life projects in our neighborhoods)
- $150,000 Neighborhood Repair Program (assistance for living condition repairs under extreme circumstances)
- Funding for the Historical Park events center (aka “barn”)
- Will be paid for by grant ($1.4M) + hotel/motel fund ($1.2M) + general funds ($1.2M)
- It is possible to replenish the general fund portion from hotel/motel should revenue accommodate
As you consider your position on this budget, keep in mind Farmers Branch has reduced the tax rate twice since 2018. In comparison, Carrollton has reduced their tax rate for eight consecutive years (see below).
* Farmers Branch’s property tax rate is proposed to stay the same. Carrollton City Council voted to lower their tax rate 2₵ this past Wednesday.
Tuesday, September 20th at 6pm will be your final opportunity to speak on the budget before it is passed. If you wish to speak, you must register prior to the City Council meeting by 5:30pm. Click here to register.