Wednesday, June 29, 2022

What You Need To Know This Tax Season

In the next 7-10 days, property tax valuations for Southlake homeowners will arrive by mail from Tarrant and Denton Counties.  And because of all the change due to the COVID-19 social distancing orders, there are also adjustments to this year’s Tarrant and Denton County protest processes.

For Denton County homeowners, the appraisal notice will be mailed by April 29. For Tarrant County residents, notices are scheduled to be sent on May 1.

“For FY 2020, the City reduced the tax rate by 3.7 cents for a valuation of $.041 per $100,” said Sharen Jackson, Southlake’s Chief Financial Officer. “Homeowners also need to make sure their 20% homestead exemption is in place and, if applicable, the senior tax freeze, and an over 65/disability exemption of $75,000.”

Exemptions At Work

To apply for your exemptions, follow these simple steps.

Infographic showing steps to obtain a homestead exemption

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CFO Jackson also said that the 20% homestead exemption for an average valued Southlake home ($740k) reduces the taxable value by $148k, an average a savings of $607.

For FY 2020, the tax rate went from $0.447 to $0.41, which results in additional savings of $222 for homeowners. Most of the rate ($.33) supports general city operations. The other portion of ($.08) pays down on debt that the City has issued to build public infrastructures such as roads, sidewalks, and public facilities. The City tax rate constitutes about 15% of the total tax levy in Southlake (depending on the school district).

Protest Information

Because of current social distancing guidelines, each appraisal district will handle protests differently this year. Both appraisal districts are encouraging residents to use their online protest systems and to create a user profile on the appropriate appraisal site.

If you live in Denton County, click here for Denton Central Appraisal District protest procedures. Denton County residents can create their user profile by using their Google, Facebook, or Twitter account. For more information, visit https://www.dentoncad.com/protestfaqs. The deadline to file a protest with Denton County is 30 days after the postmark on your appraisal notice.

The Tarrant Appraisal District has pulled together a news and FAQ page for property owners. They also advise taxpayers who are preparing to protest to activate their TAD.org online account now. The deadline to file a protest with Tarrant County is  June 1, 2020, or 30 days from the mail date listed on the notice, whichever is later.

If you have any questions, please call us at (817) 748-8042. If you prefer to contact your appraisal district directly, the numbers are below.

Tarrant County Appraisal District

2500 Handley Ederville Road

Fort Worth, TX 76118

(817) 284-0024

Denton Central Appraisal District

3911 Morse Street

Denton, TX 76202

(940) 349-3800

For more information about the City’s tax rate, please visit www.CityofSouthlake.com/TaxInformation

City Earns Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded the City of Southlake the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its annual budget beginning October 1, 2018.

“We work with the City Council every year to create a strategic budget that advances the City’s comprehensive plan and supports Southlake’s services,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “We are pleased that GFOA has recognized the City’s budget documents for more than 20 years.”

The GFOA distinguished budget guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as a policy document, as an operations guide, as a financial plan, and as a communications device.

“Each department is accountable for yearly work plans and their corresponding budgets that meet the City’s strategic goals,” said Chief Financial Officer Sharen Jackson. “Those plans are then published in the budget document so taxpayers can review it for themselves.”

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving more than 20,000 government finance professionals throughout North America. Its stated mission is to advance excellence in public finance.

The Southlake City Council will consider the proposed FY 2020 budget at their regularly scheduled meetings in September. Learn more about the City’s budget process here.

CFO Sharen Jackson Named Dallas Business Journal CFO of the Year

The Dallas Business Journal (DBJ) named the City of Southlake’s Chief Financial Officer Sharen Jackson the DBJ’s Chief Financial Officer of the Year for Government.

The CFO of the Year Awards recognizes North Texas financial professionals for their superb performance as financial stewards. The nominees were evaluated for their effect on their respective organizations.

Jackson was presented the award by Mr. Wayne Lynch, the Managing Partner for Vaco Dallas, the government award sponsor.

“The award is so well deserved,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton.  “Sharen plays an integral part of our success as a City. Her work with Southlake’s elected officials and our City departments has resulted in spectacular outcomes that include two AAA bond ratings and reduced property tax obligations for residential property owners.”

Visit the Dallas Business Journal for a slideshow featuring the 20 Chief Financial Officer finalists and the award winners.

City’s AAA Bond Rating Confirmed, Water & Sewer Projects Move Forward

The City Council approved the sale of $4.2 million in bonds to fund water and sewer capital projects included in the City’s capital improvement program budget at the June 19 City Council meeting.

Bond proceeds will be used for water quality improvements (tank mixers), storage tank upgrades and security, sewer line protection program, water system capacity improvements, and fire protection initiatives.

“These projects are essential for the integrity of our utility systems,” said Chief Financial Officer Sharen Jackson.  “But it’s important to note that no property taxes are being used to pay for the bond funds needed to complete them.”

The bonds will be repaid with water and sewer fees collected on the consumption of the services and fees paid on development projects.

“The bonds were sold competitively and we received six bids,” Jackson noted. “We conservatively expected an interest rate of 3.7%, so we were pleased with a low bid of 3.14%.”

The City’s Financial Adviser, Jim Sabonis, explained that the favorable bid reflects the City’s AAA rating, which was confirmed as part of the bidding process, and general creditworthiness.

“When you look at a national index of AAA cities and compare sales for the same day, you’ll note that the national index was about 3.4%. Of course markets move, but Southlake’s lower interest rate compared to rates received by peer cities reflects its credit quality and the tremendous demand for the City’s debt by retailers,” said Sabonis.

Through the City’s use of cash and aggressive amortization schedules when debt is issued, the City has reduced the property tax supported debt per capita from $3,506 in 2010 to $1,682 in 2018, a 52% reduction in that period.