Denton County Tax Assessor / Collector

Denton County Tax Assessor/Collector Michelle French helps Adriana Aguilar look up her property tax total at the back of the long line of people waiting to pay their property taxes at the Mary and Jim Horn Government Center in January 2016.

Double-digit property growth continued in Denton County for the fourth consecutive year in 2018, if the certified tax rolls are an indicator.

The Denton Central Appraisal District released the final tax rolls this week, with about $98 billion in homes, farms, factories, businesses and other taxable property on the list.

The total is much less than the district’s preliminary estimates for Denton County, which stood at $106 billion several months ago. Still, at $98 billion, the tax rolls are 11 percent higher than last year and continue a yearly, double-digit growth streak that began in 2014.

Some of the growth comes from the many homes and businesses being built. Other growth comes from the tight real estate market, which is driving up market values.

Property tax valuations lay the foundation for taxing entities — including cities, schools and special taxing districts — to build next year’s budget. The Denton Central Appraisal District determines values and notifies property owners and taxing entities of the preliminary values each spring. Thousands of property owners protest their valuations each year, which tends to bring the final number down.

Many area cities and school districts also saw double-digit growth in their tax rolls. The city of Denton saw nearly double-digit growth, too, but not all of it is going on the tax rolls.

Denton County Final Tax Rolls

* Freeze Adjusted** Freeze Adjusted 2018 only. Denton’s overall assessed values grew 9.7 percent.

This is the first year Denton’s property tax freeze for homeowners who are disabled or no younger than 65. The net effect looked like a $300 million dip in values, but that isn’t quite the case, said Tony Puente, the city’s finance director.

“Overall, we had about a 9.7 percent increase in assessed values,” Puente said.

Instead, about $1.2 billion in homes owned by people who are disabled or at least 65 years old were eligible for a tax freeze this year, he said.

Once they qualify for the freeze, Denton homeowners pay the same dollar amount in property taxes for as long as they own the home — no matter if the home value increases or the city raises the property tax rate. So the city collects some taxes on the property, just not as much as those properties without a freeze.

Puente estimated the city would collect about $7.2 million on that $1.2 billion in values, about $600,000 less than if taxed at full values.

Denton voters approved the freeze by a razor-thin margin in May 2017. Heavy turnout in Precinct 4003, home to the Robson Ranch retirement community, carried the proposition, which was opposed by voters elsewhere in the city.

Other Denton County cities have property tax freezes — including Bartonville, Lewisville, Ponder and Pilot Point — that have been in place a little longer. Their tax rolls grew between 9 percent and 26 percent from 2017 to 2018.

School district tax rolls also are frozen for seniors.

Some of the overall decrease in valuations between the $106 billion preliminary and $98 billion final rolls countywide can be attributed to people protesting their property valuations.

The county’s overall property tax base, which is not affected by tax freezes, was expected to jump 26 percent this year. The final rolls came in nearly 7.5 percent less.

However, the final tax rolls are approaching a figure nearly twice the value in 2010, which was $52 billion.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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