In his speech on the state of the city on Thursday evening, the Mayor of Denton, Gerard Hudspeth, initially focused on lowering the property tax rate further in a virtual forum.
“The first thing that comes to mind … is our tax rate and taking care of our citizens from a tax perspective,” he said. “We worked hard to keep the current tax rate. That rate has dropped 10 cents over the past six years. I think that’s commendable. I think you, the citizens, deserve it. “
The ad valorem tax rate is $ 0.59 per $ 100 real estate valuation – just like in 2020. That tax rate was $ 0.62 in 2019 and $ 0.63 in 2018. From 2012 to 2017, the rate was $ 0.68.
Property tax revenue makes up 38% of the city’s general fund, followed by a sales tax of 30%. The 2020-21 budget includes more than $ 75 million in property tax revenue. Property tax revenues for 2019-20 were nearly $ 76 million.
Denton’s budget is $ 1.3 billion.
“We’re trying to expand our commercial base to take the pressure off our residents,” said Hudspeth. “We work diligently as a body.”
In a snapshot from the previous year, Hudspeth also discussed the completion of the city’s bond packages over the next five years of 2012, 2014 and 2019, as well as a project to renovate a building in Loop 288 that is to become a day care center for the homeless.
City Manager Todd Hileman, who took over the same position in Palm Desert, California effective March 1, described 2020 as “an unprecedented year”.
“We have done everything we can to keep our community members safe and have found a way to deliver the services our residents need,” he said. “I would also like to recognize the city council. They did a great job representing the people who voted for them. We must also thank our residents who generously donated to their neighbors. “
Hudspeth also attended a Q&A, where residents asked questions in advance. The first was to focus on construction projects this year.
“I hope we turn the corner to face these projects,” said the mayor. “We’re finalizing bond projects from years ago” in 2012 and 2014. “We hope they’ll be finalized in five years. We are also improving the safety of bicycles and pedestrians. “
Another question related to the city’s plan to create more walking and cycling routes.
“We have the trails we’re passionate about,” said Hudspeth. “In the case of bicycles in particular, we have a new search for coordinators for bicycles and pedestrians that we are conducting. You need bike paths. But then you have [the perception that]”Well, I never see anyone on the bike paths.” That’s because they don’t feel so safe. “
During the address on Thursday evening, a video produced by city officials highlighted the council’s efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Housing assistance for the homeless; Volunteers; Supply assistance; Maintaining the property tax rate at the 2019 level; the Committee on Use of Force; the trails master plan and the parking system; mixed-use developments; and new firefighters.
Denton City Council members were also asked to introduce themselves.
Hudspeth, a two-time councilor, was elected Denton’s first black mayor in a runoff election in December against then District 2 member Keely Briggs. Thursday’s virtual event was his premier address for the city’s state.
PAUL BRYANT can be reached at 940-566-6881 and on Twitter at @paulbryant_DRC.