Arlington

Arlington takes first step to cut tax rate, but you’re likely to pay more

Property Taxes 101: How Tarrant County decides how much your home is worth

Star-Telegram Engagement/Opinion Editor Shelley Kofler sits down with Chief Appraiser for the Tarrant Appraisal District Jeff Law to talk about how Tarrant County assesses property values. Find out methods the county uses to come up with a number.
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Star-Telegram Engagement/Opinion Editor Shelley Kofler sits down with Chief Appraiser for the Tarrant Appraisal District Jeff Law to talk about how Tarrant County assesses property values. Find out methods the county uses to come up with a number.

Arlington residents’ property tax bills are likely to go up and the city will hire new police officers, staff new recreation centers and continue work on roads under the 2020 proposed budget and tax rate. The Arlington City Council gave unanimous initial approval to the two proposals on Tuesday and are expected to take a final vote Sept. 19.

Arlington plans to cut its tax rate by 1.7% but homeowners are likely to pay more because property values have risen 10% in the past year.

Under the proposed tax rate, which reduces the rate by 1.08 cents, the owner of a $215,000 home with a homestead exemption will pay $973 in property taxes next year.

The $552 million proposed budget is about a $32 million increase from last year. The city broke down the average monthly tax bill into five areas: $3 to libraries, $20 to the fire department, $43 to the police department, $7 for parks and recreation and $14 for public works and transportation.

Councilman Andrew Piel said during Tuesday’s City Council meeting that he asked for community feedback on what cuts should be made to the budget, thus reducing the required taxes to be raised, and received only one email.

“I think everybody up here is happy to take anybody’s opinion when they flip open that 500 page tax proposal and come to talk to us about it,” Piel said.

Piel said he joined council with the intention to be careful with taxes and not charge more than was necessary, and he said he feels like this tax rate reflects that.

No community members spoke during the public hearings for either item. One man raised he hand in opposition to both the budget and tax rate.

The proposed budget includes money to hire 12 police sergeants, eight police officers and five fire department positions.

Seven of the police officers and one of the sergeants will be assigned to the city’s domestic crimes, crimes against children and gun crimes unit. Two of the fire department hires will fully staff the K-9 unit.

Three of the new positions with the fire department would be staffed in anticipation of a new truck designed to handle aircraft fires. The Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting truck is not in the budget, but city officials said Tuesday they expect to purchase one next year.

The vehicle would be stationed at the Arlington Municipal Airport.

The City Council was told in previous work sessions that airplane traffic through the airport in Arlington is expected to increase in coming years. Fire Chief Don Crowson said he would rather have the the truck when traffic increases than not be prepared in case of an accident.

The budget also calls for expanding the service area for Via, a rideshare company subsidized by the city as its take on public transportation. The expanded area will cover south Arlington, including offering service to the Tarrant County College campus in the city.

Because of the agreement between the city and Via, each ride costs a flat fee of $3.

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