Recent certified tax rolls show increase

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Denton County continues to show growth according to the recently released certified tax rolls.

“It was what we would consider a normal year,” Denton County Deputy Appraiser Rudy Durham said of the certified totals, which came to a little over $57 billion for the county, nearly 5 percent higher than last year.

“There has been some new growth, which would be houses and businesses being built, and some appreciation in some parts of the county, particularly in residential and commercial,” Durham said.

Outside of individual cases here and there, there have not been any major increases in land values, he said.

“What we are seeing for the future [is] quite a few subdivisions being platted at this time,” Durham said. “That usually means the property owners and some developers are thinking the market is getting better and they can sell the lots quickly.”

Looking at oil and gas, Durham said that until natural gas prices rise, there will not be very much change in the valuation seen on the oil and gas properties.

Officials have just begun poring over reports and crunching numbers to see how these new numbers compare to preliminary ones and how budgets and planning for the 2014 fiscal year may be affected.

County Judge Mary Horn was reluctant to make any comment on the rolls, waiting to be briefed by Budget Officer Donna Stewart.

Chuck Springer, Denton’s finance director, said city finance staff had projected about a 3 percent increase in Denton’s tax rolls for the year, so they were pleased when the growth came in closer to 4 percent.

With close to $7 billion in taxable values in Denton, that means more than $200 million in growth in the city’s tax base between last year and this year.

The city manager is expected to release the 2013-14 budget at the end of this week or early next week, with new five-year projections. Whether that means a long-proposed property tax increase for 2014-15 could come off the table was too soon to tell, Springer said.

"That’s up to the City Council," Springer said.

The Denton school board adopted the 2013-14 budget based on a projected growth of $300 million in property values. The district’s new fiscal year began July 1.

According to the certified values released this week, a comparison of 2012 and 2013 certified values, prior to adjusted totals, indicates property values in the school district have increased by more than $563 million in the past year.

“The district is pleased with the growth and the fact that it exceeded our budgeted projections,” said Sharon Cox, school district spokeswoman. “The increase in values also depicts that businesses and people want to build and move into our district.”

Cox said since certified values were just released this week, there’s been no discussion about how additional revenue generated for the district might be used.

The growth was what many area cities were expecting to see, based off data officials collected while putting together their preliminary 2012-13 budgets.

Some budget officials said now that certified tax rolls are in, they can begin finalizing their budgets and making needed adjustments.

In Sanger, City Manager Mike Brice said he attributes the growth to the Sam’s Club distribution warehouse and about 100 new houses.

“New construction accounts for the majority of the increase,” he said. “However, assessed values on existing property also increased slightly, which raised the overall assessed value as well.”

Many area cities — with the exception of Copper Canyon and Ponder — experienced growth.

Officials said that the growth is similar to what the cities experienced last year and that they hope the trend will continue.

Staff writers Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe, John D. Harden and Britney Tabor contributed to this report.

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