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Tax rolls offer good news

Denton County continues to grow, according to the recently released certified tax rolls.

Officials have been cautiously optimistic about the news thus far, emphasizing that the level of growth is similar to what area cities experienced last year.

“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.

In our view, that’s a positive economic sign — even a small increase beats the alternative — a holding pattern or a negative trend.

Many area cities — with the exception of Copper Canyon and Ponder — are experiencing growth, according to the tax rolls.

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.

Officials have just begun breaking down the results, of course, but the projected increase could come in handy as the city finalizes its 2013-14 budget with new five-year projections.

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.

Officials said the growth in certified tax rolls indicates new houses and businesses are being built, another good sign.

“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.”

Like we said, a small percentage increase in the certified tax rolls doesn’t mean the economy is on easy street, but considering the gloom-and-doom economic forecasts of recent years, slow and steady growth is good news.

The figures also indicate Denton County continues to be a favorable market for investment and, as long as that continues, our future economic picture should continue to grow brighter.