After two failed motions, the Flower Mound Town Council unanimously adopted its fiscal year 2019-20 budget and set its property tax rate of $0.4365 per $100 in assessed valuation at a Sept. 16 meeting.
The budget discussion brought dozens of residents to Flower Mound Town Hall—every seat was filled, leaving some residents to watch from the lobby.
Seventeen residents spoke during the public comment period about the budget. All but a few spoke in support of the proposed budget, which was ultimately adopted.
Many residents wore shirts that said “We support #FloMoEmployees.” The shirts, residents said, were intended to send a message to council that residents disapproved of any employee compensation cuts.
During the contentious budgeting process, some council members brought up potential decreases to compensation for first responders. Ultimately, no such compensation cuts were made. But the conversation spurred an influx of community engagement as residents voiced their disapproval of adjusting the pay of first responders.
At the Sept. 16 meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Sandeep Sharma was the first to motion, proposing council adopt a lower tax rate of $0.434 per $100 valuation.
However, Flower Mound Chief Financial Officer Debra Wallace explained the town is required by its charter to maintain a 20% reserve in its budget. She said adopting a $0.434 tax rate would decrease the town’s revenue by about $271,000, which would mean council would have to cut expenditures by about $252,000 in order to maintain the 20% reserve.
Though Sharma said he wanted to go through the “exercise” of figuring out where adjustments could be made, the motion died when no one seconded it.
Council Member Claudio Forest motioned to adopt a tax rate of $0.4390 per $100 in valuation, a 2.77% increase from the current rate. Forest said although he believed the town may be able to get by on a slightly lower rate, he did not believe it was a smart decision for the long term. Again, no one seconded the motion.
Council Member Jim Engel made the final motion—to adopt a tax rate of $0.4365 per $100 in assessed valuation. This rate corresponded with the budget presented to council by town staff at the meeting.
This version of the budget included “non-essential” cuts requested by some council members in a budget workshop earlier this summer. It passed unanimously.