Dallas, Texas – In a pivotal legislative session on August 23, the Dallas City Council ratified a maximum property tax rate of $0.7393 per $100 valuation for the forthcoming 2023-24 fiscal year, thereby marking a marginal decrease of slightly more than half a cent from the extant rate of $0.7458 per $100 valuation for fiscal year 2022-23.
Dallas mayor has pushed for even lower property tax rate
The resolution, albeit representing only a ceiling on potential taxation within the framework of the FY 2023-24 budget, encountered robust debate. Mayor Eric Johnson, along with a faction of the council, had endeavored—albeit without ultimate success—to secure approval for a yet more attenuated rate. Dallas mayor has confirmed his support in cutting property taxes in multiple occasions in recent weeks.
It is imperative to note that the approved rate serves merely as an upper boundary, subject to subsequent modification. The City Council is poised to cast its final vote on the tax rate concomitant with the formal approval of the budget in September. Preceding this legislative milestone, City Manager T.C. Broadnax, in early August, unfurled a proposed budget encompassing $4.63 billion, of which a general fund budget constitutes $1.84 billion.
Council Member Paula Blackmon, representing constituents in Lakewood as well as a section of Lake Highlands, articulated that establishing a higher maximum tax rate than some council members had advocated affords the municipality the latitude to revisit and recalibrate budgetary priorities prior to the finalization of the rate.
While Blackmon did cast her vote in favor of the legislatively endorsed maximum rate, she delineated her aspiration to see the final tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year situated at a level 1.5 to 2 cents lower than that of fiscal year 2022-23.
“To me, this is just an exercise—the real work begins after today,” Blackmon said at the Aug. 23. meeting. “I ask my colleagues to roll up our sleeves, and let’s really look for hard dollars to cut.”
Council Member Cara Mendelsohn supported lower maximum property tax rate
Council Member Cara Mendelsohn, representing northern Dallas, strenuously advocated for a markedly reduced maximum property tax rate of $0.683821 per $100 valuation during the deliberations. Mendelsohn advanced her rationale on the premise that certified property values within the city are slated for substantial augmentation. Consequently, she argued, the reduction in the municipal tax rate would offer palpable financial reprieve to beleaguered property owners.
“We say, ‘We’re lowering your tax rate,’ and then we take a bow. But the residents get a higher tax bill because their property value has increased significantly,” Mendelsohn said at the meeting.
Ten Dallas city council member supported the property tax cut decision, four were against
In the final vote, of the 15-member council, which included Mayor Johnson, 10 elected to endorse the proposed rate while one member was conspicuously absent. Those in the minority dissenting against the tax rate encompassed Johnson, Mendelsohn, Kathy Stewart—who serves most of Lake Highlands—as well as Gay Donnell Willis, the representative for northwest Dallas.
Subsequent to the Council’s initial verdict on August 18, Johnson formally petitioned City Manager T.C. Broadnax to revisit and amend his initial budgetary blueprint. The original iteration of the proposal had commended a rate of $0.7393 per $100 valuation and Johnson’s request aimed to induce a more expansive property tax abatement.
Broadnax has been administratively mandated to tender a revised budgetary proposition no later than September 1 at 5 p.m. The City Council has scheduled an evaluative workshop for September 6 to dissect the nuances of the revised budget. Further, a public hearing has been calendared for September 20 at City Hall, specifically designed to elicit public input on the draft tax rate. This kaleidoscope of impending events heralds a tumultuous and intricate trajectory as the Council navigates the labyrinthine corridors of tax policy and civic financial stewardship.