Dallas, both city and county, has held the line on property taxes in recent years despite dwindling revenues and shrinking budgets. Still, your property tax bill is probably going to increase after September 1, when Dallas County Community College District's new budget goes into effect.
DCCCD spokeswoman Ann Hatch said the district has cut its budget to the bone over the past several years, deferring maintenance, freezing salaries and offering buyouts to veteran employees and can cut no further. It's looking at $44.3 million in unmet needs for the coming year -- a combination of facilities improvements, cost-of-living increases, technology upgrades, and increased benefit costs -- that it will fund with phased tuition and property tax increases over the next three to four years.
"The fact is the district is in the bottom three in the state in terms of what our cost is per credit hour," said spokeswoman Ann Hatch. "We're so low our trustees are now telling us they" need to be increased. The tax rate is also low compared with other community college districts in the state, and the board supports an increase there as well.
Ed DesPlas, executive vice chancellor for business affairs, presented a handful possible scenarios to the district's board of trustees earlier this month.
A likely scenario would raise the maintenance and operations tax by 25.9 percent, from $.0789 to $.0994 per $100 of property value, between 2013 and 2015. That would mean a homeowner with property valued at $131,780 would pay an extra $21.57 per year. The proposals call for tuition to jump nearly a third over the same time period, from $45 per credit hour to $59 per credit hour.
The DCCCD board will get an update on the numbers on August 7 and pass its budget later that month or on September 1. It will likely adopt one of DesPlas' proposals, which you can read here.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.