Denton County Commissioners Court on Sept. 8 adopted $319 million in expenditures for the 2020-21 fiscal year—down roughly $2 million from the previous year’s adopted budget—and committed to the county's lowest tax rate since 1986, according to a county news release.
The cuts came after commissioners agreed to remain committed to recent property tax exemptions for primary residences and the elderly or disabled.
“In light of the tough times, the county opted to take the cut and reduce our budget for the sake of providing these additional exemptions to our residents,” Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell, who represents part of the southeast portion of the county, said in the release.
The new county tax rate of $0.224985 per $100 valuation will pull in roughly $8 million less than what state law refers to as the “no new revenue rate,” Denton County Judge Andy Eads said. Had the county adopted the no new revenue rate, tax revenues from existing properties would have remained roughly the same as last year.
One consequence of the budget cuts is that the county will only be able to add roughly 27 new positions instead of the requested 36. New positions under the budget will include mental health professionals at the jail and staff for the new 467th district court and the new Denton County Administrative Courthouse.
The county is also consolidating two of its road and bridge precincts into a single Department of Transportation and Engineering.