Let’s Talk Taxes

Taxes are always a key issue in any election. Candidates seeking election for the first time will promise to bring true conservatism to the city, and vow never to raise property taxes and, in fact, lower them.  At the same time, pledges are made to build more roads, improve the quality of life and, make the city safer. The question to ask is how do they plan to do that?  Keeping taxes low is top priority for me and I am proud of my record of Frisco having one of the lowest tax rates in the region.  Having the lowest tax rate did not happen over-night and took many years of careful planning to build a financially sustainable city.

Let’s take a hard look at taxes in Frisco:

1)      In September of 2010, a tax rate analysis was conducted for all cities with a population over 5,000 in a 4-county area surrounding Frisco, including Collin, Denton, Dallas and Tarrant counties.  Of the 68 cities analyzed, there are only 9 with a lower tax rate than Frisco.  However, Frisco has the LOWEST tax rate of cities with a population over 100,000, and the LOWEST tax rate of all cities with an ISO1 rated Fire Department, which decreases homeowner’s insurance rates, and saves money. (Please note, Plano has a 20% homestead exemption and Frisco has a $50,000 senior exemption, which are not taken into account).

2)      The 4-county average tax rate is 60.1681 cents per $100 valuation, and Frisco is 46.5 cents per $100 valuation.  That is a difference of 13.6681 cents per $100 valuation. This means the average home in Frisco, which is valued at $286,599, saves $391.73 per year over the average tax rate in the 4-county area, while still receiving THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF SERVICES.

3)      The 3-years before I was elected mayor, the average annual growth in our budget was 20.2%.  Understandable, considering that our population growth at that time was roughly 23.2%.   However, due to the tough economic times facing many of us, I promised during my campaign to help scrub the budget.  And though we were still the country’s fastest growing city, with a population growth of 21.4% (21,190 people) during my term of three years, we succeeded in limiting budget growth to an average of 2.5%. A reduction of approximately 18%! Please think about this carefully­­­­–our population grew almost the size of the entire population of Little Elm, with only a 2.5% growth in our budget!  This was accomplished with a hiring freeze, working with all city departments to reduce budgets, halting bond sales, freezing equipment purchases, having employees do more with less, utilizing great community volunteers, and a focused effort by our city manager’s office. An already lean city became even leaner, without sacrificing the excellent level of service, including public safety, roads, parks and services.

4)      Our tax rate, in a large part, is voted on by our citizens during bond elections. The estimated tax rate is published during bond elections and our citizens decide what they can afford at the ballot box.  While we have always estimated the tax rate when our voters approved bonds, we have never reached the estimated tax rate – we are always lower.  88% of the total bonds sold have been for public safety, roads & parks.  My opponent has said we have much debt – what will we stop adding in the fastest growing city in the country? Public Safety? Maybe – he has already told the Dallas Morning News that he would not sell the voter-approved bonds for fire station #7.

I am proud Frisco has one of the lowest tax rates in North Texas, and an unparalleled quality of life.  My approach is fiscally responsible–investing in initiatives that will keep Frisco safe and strong. As such, our bond rating is excellent, new companies are locating here with great frequency, and tourism is solid – all of which keep taxes low!  Meanwhile, I am proud that our voters approve which projects to build and at what cost.  That is democracy at work along with long-term vision and planning.  Join me as we continue to grow Frisco in a smart and fiscally responsible manner!

Property Tax Rates are a byproduct of hard work, jobs, other revenues and watching the bottom line. To the end, watch for the next series about a subject that impacts our taxes..  Let’s talk Economic Development and Jobs!


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