Dallas homeowners who are disabled or 65 and older will be eligible for a modest increase in the amount of money they can exempt from their property taxes next year.
The Dallas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved an 8% increase in the amount those homeowners can exclude from their property tax valuation to $115,500 from the current $107,000 exemption.
City officials say senior and disabled homeowners with an average home value of $328,453 would pay $1,141 in city taxes, working out to a $63 annual reduction with the change. That tally also includes the standard 20% homestead exemption, which can be applied for every Dallas homeowners’ primary residence. That 20% is the highest amount allowed by state law.
The over 65 and disabled homeowner exemption increase would apply to more than 74,500 homes in the city and is meant to give more tax relief to residents who are typically on a fixed income in the face of rising property taxes.
At 77.3 cents per $100, Dallas has one of the highest property tax rates in the state.
In 2021, Houston, San Antonio and Austin all had property tax rates under 57 cents per $100 of valuation. Among major Texas cities, only El Paso, at 90.7 cents per $100 valuation, has a larger tax rate than Dallas.
“High property taxes can make it difficult for anyone, but there’s a recognition that seniors and people with disabilities, many who are on a fixed income, are unable to absorb into their budget the property value increases we’re seeing in Dallas,” council member Cara Mendelsohn said before the vote.
Mendelsohn said the exemption increase could mean the difference between some homeowners being able to afford groceries or prescription medication, and she was one of several council members who expressed support for lowering Dallas’ overall property tax rate in the next city budget.
Property taxes are the city’s largest revenue source, bringing in close to $1.2 billion in a year. Of that amount, 73% or $877 million, goes toward the city’s general fund and the rest toward paying city debt.
According to city records, $46.8 billion in property value is currently exempt from taxes in Dallas. That represents about $361 million in revenue the city isn’t getting.
That includes homestead, historic and environmental exemptions, tax abatements and properties completely exempt like government buildings, churches and schools.
†The council voted to delay a vote on whether to approve redrawn district boundaries by two weeks to June 22. Wednesday marked the first time council members publicly presented amendments to the proposed new city map, which was approved by the city’s redistricting commission on May 10.
Of eight proposed changes, only one got the required 12 council votes of the 15-member body to be added. It was an amendment by Jaime Resendez to extend his district boundary in southeast Dallas’ Pleasant Grove to re-add River Ranch and the Texas Horse Park.
“The horse park would be a significant asset around which future District 5 leadership and community members could rally to maximize the facility’s potential and benefit to the community,” Resendez said. He said a nearby neighborhood association that would still be in his district supported the horse park and didn’t want to see it moved outside of their city representation.
Other amendments largely aimed to reclaim areas moved out of current council districts. Council members can propose amendments again before the final vote on the redistricting map on June 22.
†The Dallas City Council approved paying a local nonprofit to hire blind or partially sighted people to answer the majority of municipal court calls.
The greenlit three-year contract with Envision Dallas, which helps provide jobs and other services for people who are visually impaired, contained several changes from a draft of the deal publicly presented last month.
The city will hire seven workers instead of six and they will be working 37 hours a week instead of 40. The city will also pay more than $891,000 over the three years, around $105,000 more than originally proposed.
The council didn’t waive a city requirement that contracted workers be paid at least $15.21 an hour. It was under consideration last month because Dallas’ 311 Customer Service Director Janette Weedon said there was concern that the payrate would be too high and make workers ineligible for federal benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance.