Mansfield homeowners looking to the city for relief from property taxes may not find any this year.
The city has proposed to maintain the tax rate at 71 cents per $100 of assessed value for the 11th year in a row. Fast-growing Mansfield has big ticket items in the proposed $175.2 million budget, including land acquisition for a fifth fire station, six new firefighters and four new police officers.
Though the rate will stay the same, Mansfield will collect $3.2 million in additional revenue from property tax because of skyrocketing property appraisals.
The average home in Mansfield is valued at about $245,000, about $6,000 more than last year. The average homeowner will pay $1,739 in city property taxes in fiscal year 2019, or about $145 per month. That’s about $42 a year higher compared with last year.
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The council has been under pressure from residents to lower the tax rate or offer a homestead exemption this year. Every penny on the tax rate represents about $740,000 in revenue to the city. The city’s tax rate represents 27 percent of the total tax bill with the largest, 54 percent, being the Mansfield school district.
Councilman Mike Leyman asked what the city would do if a penny were shaved off the budget.
City Manager Clayton Chandler said they would likely leave new jobs unfilled.
“It would come in a couple of the open positions,” he said.
Mayor David Cook asked the rest of the council if there was any interest in exploring a lower tax rate. None of the members responded.
All city departments started with a zero-based budget where they had to justify every expense, Chandler said. There were more than 13,400 individual line items in the city’s budget.
Acquiring land for the fifth fire station and starting design on the building will cost an estimated $1.3 million.
Other big costs include giving employees 3 percent raises, which costs about $768,957. Health insurance costs also rose about 5 percent, which Chandler said was lower than expected.
Mansfield also has to pay off debt for roads, the StarCenter Mansfield ice rink and other capital projects. About 32 percent of the tax rate goes to pay off debt, Chandler said. The percentage used to be much higher, though, he pointed out.
Mansfield’s aging population is another factor as about $600 million worth of valuation will be subject to the senior tax freeze, which represents about $1 million less revenue to the city.
Mansfield added $224 million in new construction to the tax rolls. The addition of the Academy Sports+Outdoors and At Home in The Shops at Broad project will bolster the city’s sales tax collections, too.
Peter Phillis, deputy city manager, said the city anticipates collecting $841,718 in new sales tax this coming year, the largest increase in the city’s history.
Mansfield will have a public hearing where the public can speak about the budget on Aug. 27. The council is scheduled to vote on the budget Sept. 10, 11 and 12.