County Commissioner update

Dianne Edmondson, Denton County Commissioner Pct. 4
As I was campaigning last year, many of you told me that your property taxes were a major concern, and while the sharply rising home appraisals are the reason for that, I felt that there was something else that could benefit our seniors: a cap on the county’s property taxes. So, I promised that if elected, I would advocate for that cap which would provide real tax relief for our seniors.
School taxes for seniors were already capped statewide and our two largest cities (Denton and Lewisville) also had taken that step. It was time for Denton County to do the same as authorized by the Texas Constitution. Though the county’s portion of property tax is the smallest, we commissioners knew that every little bit helps.
In preparation for taking this action, your commissioners researched data from a number of sources and evaluated it. I asked the county’s legal department to place the senior tax ceiling resolution on the court’s agenda for Tuesday, May 7. While considerable discussion ensued, action was delayed until the following week, Tuesday, May 14, when County Judge Andy Eads again placed it on the agenda. After more discussion and input from various sources, including but not limited to our tax assessor/collector, the denton county chief appraiser and our county auditor, your commissioners unanimously approved this historic measure. If property values decrease, property taxes for seniors will also decrease. However, those taxes can never increase unless a substantial improvement has occurred to their property such as adding a pool or an additional room.
What does this mean to seniors?
What this means for homeowners who are 65 or older or disabled according to Section 1-b(h), Article VIII of the Texas Constitution and Texas Tax Code is that their county property taxes will never go any higher than the tax bill they received earlier this year. Furthermore, for seniors living in Denton or Lewisville, their entire property tax bill is now capped so that budgeting for their golden years is easier and more consistent. This step is real tax relief for more than 42,000 Denton County homeowners. And it can never be rescinded!
How to get the new tax cap
For seniors who currently receive a tax cap from their school board and/or city through a homestead exemption, no additional filing with the county is required for the county cap. However, many eligible senior homeowners within our county have not yet filed this request for a senior tax exemption with the Denton Central Appraisal District, including seniors who are new to Texas.
If you are 65 or disabled and have not yet requested an exemption, you may do so by visiting or calling the Appraisal District office at 940-349-3800. It’s also important to know that your homestead senior exemption (not the same as the tax ceiling) can be applied back to the two previous tax years.
Finally, seniors and disabled homeowners may make quarterly property tax payments but must request that in writing and must adhere to the fixed quarterly schedule. Some of these instructions may seem confusing so be sure to call the Appraisal District office with any questions. We want everyone eligible to take advantage of this tax relief option.
As always, your Denton County Commissioners’ Court will continue to provide the most services possible for the least amount of tax dollars. It is not lost on the Commissioners that, while Denton is growing and we are currently in a period of additional revenue each year, we are responsible for addressing the many needs of our residents. Fortunately, all of the Commissioners agreed that our seniors and disabled are among our highest priorities. The dramatic growth in our county is challenging and we are constantly looking for ways to stretch your tax dollars to govern economically and effectively. However, providing tax relief to our seniors and the disabled as the Texas Constitution allows simply was the right step to take and I appreciate all the calls and notes thanking me for keeping that campaign promise.
In May, we launched an e-newsletter for Precinct 4 residents. To receive this e-newsletter, please contact me at [email protected] or call our office at 972-434-3960 with questions or comments.