FBTX ~ Following approximately six weeks of study, meetings, workshops and a public hearing, Mayor Robert Dye and the members of the City Council unanimously approved the City Manager’s proposed $132 million Fiscal Year 2018-19 Budget Tuesday night, including the first property tax reduction that Farmers Branch homeowners have seen since 1983.
The new measure lowers the property tax rate by about a quarter-cent to 59.9507-cents for every $100 of assessed valuation. However, the budget also absorbs a projected two cents on the tax rate, approved by voters in a $15 million bond election last year.
So, between the quarter-cent reduction in the actual tax rate and the absorption of the two-cents for the bond issue, the impact of this budget is 2.25-cents to the advantage of Farmers Branch homeowners,” said City Manager Charles Cox.
The budget anticipates a 9.2 percent increase in property values, to $5.5 billion, bringing a $2 million increase in property tax revenue. Similarly, sales tax is expected to rise by $1.1 million. Fueled by housing growth, building permit and related revenue is expected to nearly double, to $4.9 million.
Expenditures include funding for a dog park, establishment of a Facilities Repair and Improvement Reserve to make HVAC replacements as needed, purchase of a new ambulance, shoring up City infrastructure along creeks in Farmers Branch, improvements to the City’s service center, relocation of Fire Station No. 2 and salary adjustments for the City’s merit-based compensation system for employees and market-based step adjustments for public safety.
However, this budget does not add any full-time positions to the City staff. Due to implementation of an annual $1 million program in sewer infrastructure replacement and an increase in wastewater treatment fees from the Trinity River Authority, the budget does include a 6 percent water and sewer rate increase. For the average residential water consumer of 6,000 gallons, the increase will be $4.39 cents per month.
A video summary of the budget can be found online. The budget document is available at farmersbranchtx.gov/budget.