Tarrant County, Texas – In an unprecedented move on June 6, the Tarrant County Commissioners voted in favor of a measure providing some much-needed tax respite to beleaguered homeowners. The significant vote marks a seminal moment in the history of the county, signaling the first glimmers of economic relief for those long-burdened by tax increments.
This sigh of relief is more pronounced among those homeowners who are still contesting their taxation dues, many of whom have watched, with consternation, as their financial obligations have steadily escalated over the years.
James Aghayere, a local homeowner, expresses a grim but realistic outlook on life’s inevitabilities.
“You live, You die and you pay taxes,” Aghayere said, according to WFAA. “I bought this at 2008. It’s been going up. Can’t fight it. Can’t do it. And so you got to pay it, right? Especially now with inflation on way up.”
However, the cloud of uncertainty that has been hovering over Aghayere and his fellow homeowners appears to be lifting. The commissioners have backed a pioneering 10% homestead exemption at the county level. This historic vote is a testament to their responsiveness to homeowners’ growing cries of being overburdened by taxes.
County Judge Tim O’Hare, presiding over the Tarrant County Commissioners Court, is resolute in his pursuit of additional tax respite for homeowners.
“We cannot tax people out of their homes,” O’Hare said. “There’s people living on fixed incomes, their seniors, widows or single moms, and you should never run them out of your county because the taxes are too high. And that’s where we’ve gotten for a lot of people right now.”
The narrative of homeowners grappling with rising property taxes isn’t lost on Tarrant County Precinct 2 Commissioner Alisa Simmons either. She acknowledges the widespread concerns about affordability that have been increasingly voiced by her constituents.
“We all would like a break,” Simmons said. “So, we hope that other entities will as well. Our school districts have to provide some relief. That’s where the bulk of the problem comes from. I want homeowners to know that we are property owners too, all of us. And so we experience the same concerns that they do.”
“Alisa Simmons and Tim O’Hare are leading the charge,” said Chandler Crouch.
Crouch has long been an advocate for homeowners battling rising property taxes. He expressed confidence that the commissioners’ recent actions will effectively address the homeowners’ desperate pleas for assistance.
“People call my office every single week because they’re getting taxed out of their home and this makes their house a little bit more affordable,” said Crouch.
Crouch anticipates that the average savings for homeowners in Tarrant County will amount to approximately $500. Furthermore, he emphasized the significance of the 10% homestead exemption at the county level, especially for the higher-priced properties within Tarrant County.
“Most people don’t understand where their money goes when they pay their tax bill. The state actually doesn’t get that money. The money goes towards your county, your school district, JP’s hospital,” said Crouch, “Anything that’s publicly funded, like your water district, the Tarrant County Community College and the school district is the only one that was mandated by law to maintain a homestead exemption.”
O’Hare said he wants homeowners in Tarrant County to look at their tax bills to see where their money is going, and then contact those tax entities and asked for exemptions. He also said he plans to rally on behalf of homeowners in September when it’s time for their final tax bill.
“Any break that we can get is absolutely welcome,” said Aghayere.