TARRANT COUNTY (CBSNewsTexas.com) - Tarrant County doubled down on tax relief in the last week, voting to lower tax rates for 2024 to the point where property owners should send less money to the county and the hospital district compared to last year.
The move should result in actual savings of at least $90 for a home with the county average taxable value of about $285,000.
The lower rates follow the decision by county leaders earlier this year to also adopt a 10 % homestead exemption for the first time.
"Right now I think the sentiment of people is not we want you to do more and more, they want relief," said Tarrant County Judge Tim O'Hare, who made tax relief part of his platform when running for the position last year.
The vote to lower rates was unanimous by a county commission that is commonly split 3-2 along party lines.
Cities, counties and other taxing entities often tout efforts to lower tax rates as they set budgets for the year ahead. However, with the steep increase in property values in North Texas those lower rates regularly result in a bill that is still higher.
Fort Worth has proposed to lower its tax rate by four cents this year, but taxable values climbed by 14%, meaning the owner of the average home would pay about an additional $10 per month next year.
The county reduced its budget by more than $8 million, not by eliminating major services according to O'Hare, but largely through efforts including eliminating unfilled positions and reducing spending on things like travel.
There were still raises included for sheriff deputies, detention officers and other county employees.
The hospital district had proposed to keep its tax rate flat, which would increase revenues with higher home values. That would provide for unforeseen needs and keep bond-funded expansion at JPS Hospital on track even with rising costs. However, commissioners mirrored the rate set for the county. O'Hare said the district had ample reserves and the lower rate would not result in any loss of quality of care at JPS.
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