Argyle town employees will receive a 4% pay increase in the proposed fiscal year 2023-24 budget, which is still being studied by council, said Argyle Town Administrator Erika McComis.

The council had a public hearing on the final proposed budget at its Aug. 28 meeting.

The details

The proposed general fund budget this year is $6.2 million, which is higher than last year’s $5.9 million. The proposed fiscal year 2023-24 tax rate of no more than $0.343111 per $100 of valuation is lower than the rate of $0.365347 from fiscal year 2022-23. The average taxable value of a home is $617,339, with the average tax bill coming to $2,119. The budget continues the over 65 and disabled tax exemption of $150,000 plus tax freeze, according to information on the budget from the town.

In addition to the salary increase for all employees, the budget proposes a 2.25% step pay increase for officers, which is on top of 4% increase. There also is a proposed up-to- 2% merit increase mid-year for employees.

No one from the public spoke at the public hearing on the tax rate and budget at the Aug. 28 meeting. Final council approval on the tax rate and budget will come Sept. 18.

Zooming in

Town staff spent the last three months working on the budget.

"This budget reflects the town council and staff's commitment to quality services and responsible growth while also providing a good value to our residents," Argyle Mayor Rick Bradford said in an email.

McComis said council is still looking over the budget and examining land acquisition and the building of a law enforcement center and municipal complex.

“They’re still looking at ways that they could cut but not hinder any of the services to the citizens,” she said.

The priority remains continuing to provide services to residents and looking at land development acquisition.

“Their main goal right now is to work on getting that law enforcement center,” she said, adding that rehabilitation on city streets also remains important.

“They did a pavement study and so we’ll review that with council and they’ll set their priorities on what streets and how much funds they want to spend this year,” she said. “Right now we have about $500,000 budgeted.”

But that could change once they review the pavement study, she said.

Council members will send their suggestions on the budget to McComis by Sept. 7 and she’ll incorporate those suggestions into the budget, which will be provided to council and then council will vote on Sept. 18.

Bradford and McComis said council continues to look for financial means to construct a new law enforcement center and a municipal complex that will allow all town facilities to be centrally located on one property for resident and staff convenience. Council has also tasked staff with a complete review of the capital improvement program to plan for the next five to 10 years of needs, so council can ensure the town is financially sound to fund the necessary projects such as road repairs and construction along with maintaining the town’s wastewater infrastructure.

Originally set for Sept. 5, the budget approval and tax rate hearing were moved to Sept. 18 to allow the council more time to review the budget.

Bradford and McComis the town has been fortunate that it could lower the tax rate over the last two years to allow some financial relief for residents as consumer prices continue to rise. Each year's goal, they said, is to maintain adequate operations to provide residents with the best quality of life possible.

Concerning pay raises for town employees, the mayor and town administrator said the need to maintain quality staff as customer service for our residents is a “high priority” for council and staff.

Also of note

Bradford and McComis pointed out that Argyle seniors and disabled residents are enjoying the highest homestead exemption in Denton County, due to new laws put in place by council.

The $100,000 homestead exemption already in place for seniors over age 65 in Argyle will increase to $150,000 and be reflected on the tax bill homeowners receive in January 2024. The additional exemption comes with the passage of the Over 65 and Disabled Person Exemption, formerly known as a senior tax freeze.

Senior property owners may apply for their exemption during the year in which they turn 65. The Disabled Person Exemption is for property owners who are designated disabled for the purposes of payment of disability insurance benefits, town leaders said. An eligible disabled person age 65 or older may receive both exemptions in the same year but not from the same taxing units.

The Denton Central Appraisal District can provide guidance for any seniors or disabled resident. People may apply in person between Jan. 1 and April 30 of the tax year in which they turn 65. The form and answers to many exemption questions are available here.