Public Safety and Fiscal Responsibility

Public Safety and Fiscal Responsibility

Last month I laid out the hard work your Denton City Council is doing to craft a responsible budget, based on the effective tax rate. The effective tax rate, you’ll recall, is the lowest rate necessary to collect the same revenue as last year. Today, I am happy to report that the City Manager’s Draft Budget lowers your City taxes to the effective rate ($0.59 per $100 of property value), and includes not rate increases for Denton Municipal Electric, Water, Wastewater, or Solid Waste services.

Furthermore, this budget adds sworn officers to our police force, adds additional public safety personnel, increases support for our police and fire operations, and strengthens our security against cyberattacks. On top of that, the draft budget takes majors steps to combat homelessness, moves our park system away from harmful chemicals, and guarantees a living wage for city employees.  And this bears repeating—all while keeping your city taxes at the effective rate.

No other North Texas city can claim to do as much for the safety, health, and welfare of its citizens—with strict fiscal responsibility—as Denton does. To be fair, we have some natural advantages. Key among these is our economic growth. Rising property values obviously mean more in the City coffers. However, the portion of the budget primarily funded by property and sales taxes (called the General Fund) makes up only about 11% of the total $1.21 billion City budget. The remainder includes more business-like activities like Denton Municipal Electric, the Water Department, Solid Waste, and others.

When you see that a City the size of Denton can keep its taxes at the effective rate and utility rates low, it can only mean one thing. A deep commitment to financial responsibility on the part of your City Council and management. The City Manager has instituted cost-saving reforms in every department of the City. And the City Council has held the line at every turn—despite the ever present temptation to adopt pet projects and spend more than we have.

As your District 3 Council Member, I am proud that this Draft Budget keeps the promises I made to you this Spring. I know from our conversations that fiscal responsibility is as important to you as it is to me. So please let me know what you think about the draft budget and proposed tax rate. The City Council will hold a public hearing on both at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10th, at City Hall (215 East McKinney). Your comments are welcome and appreciated. We will take a final vote to adopt the budget and tax rate on Tuesday, September 17th.