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Arlington City Manager Unveils $478 Million Budget Proposal for 2018

BY ARLINGTON WEEKLY STAFF

Arlington, Texas. August 20, 2017

The Arlington City Council took its first look Tuesday at the proposed $478 million Fiscal Year 2018 operating budget, which includes a property tax rate reduction for the second year in a row.

Proposals for next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, include significant investments in public safety and technology, expenses related to the reopening of Ditto Golf Course and the opening of the new Downtown Library as well as implementation of voter-approved Civil Service for the Arlington Fire Department.

The budget, which the Council will vote on in September, also includes funding for the second year of a three-year compensation plan to make city employee salaries and benefits more competitive with area North Texas cities.

“The proposed budget is balanced, reflects our sound financial principles, and helps us advance the City Council’s priorities – from offering competitive employee compensation to enhancing the core services that make Arlington a desirable place to live, work, learn and play,” City Manager Trey Yelverton said.

Even with these additions, the City of Arlington is proposing to lower its property tax rate for a second consecutive year because of rising property values. Last year, the City Council lowered the rate by a quarter cent. This year, the City Council will consider whether to reduce Arlington’s property tax rate, currently 64.48 cents per $100 of assessed value, by half a cent. This will result in a property tax savings for some residents.

Only about 24 percent of an Arlington property owner’s tax bill goes to the City of Arlington. The remainder is divided among the other taxing entities, such as Tarrant County and the Arlington Independent School District.

The proposed budget and business plan is built around supporting the City Council’s five priorities: Champion Great Neighborhoods, Support Quality Education, Invest in Our Economy, Enhance Regional Mobility and Put Technology to Work.

The City of Arlington’s revenue largely comes from property taxes paid by residents and businesses, followed closely by sales taxes. The City projects it will collect nearly $98.7 million in property taxes and $62.8 million in sales taxes during the coming fiscal year, both of which are healthy increases over the current year.

“With all of the family friendly attractions in our Entertainment District and our destination retail centers, including the Arlington Highlands and Parks Mall, it’s not surprising that roughly half of Arlington’s sales tax revenue comes from visitors who are shopping and dining in our great city,” Marketing Communications Manager Jay Warren said. “Strong sales tax revenue helps us provide the quality core city services and amenities that our residents expect.”

Highlights from the proposed budget include:

  • $490,251 for seven new Arlington Police Department positions: a defensive tactics coordinator, school resource officer, jail court assistance and four detention officers.
  • $550,000 to reopen the Ditto Golf Course in North Arlington, with expenses to be covered by park user fees. Click here to read more about the renovations.
  • $721,874 to implement Civil Service for the Arlington Fire Department, which was approved by Arlington voters last November. Click here to read more about the Civil Service proposition.
  • $150,000 to move the collection into the new George W. Hawkes Downtown Library, set to open next year, and restore part-time salary funding that was cut when the former downtown library closed. Click here to read more about the new library.
  • $6.8 million to go toward increased employee pay and pension benefits.
  • An estimated $1.6 million increase in property and sales tax revenue for the City from the expiration of the Parks Mall Chapter 380 agreement and the Arlington Highlands Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.
  • Increased fees from the Trinity River Authority to the City and necessary upgrades for the John Kubala Water Treatment Plant are expected to result in a $4.34 per month, or 8.1 percent, increase for the average residential water utilities customer. The fees, if approved, would not be implemented until January.

Click here for the City of Arlington’s budget page to read more about the proposed budget and business plan.

Public input is welcome at two town hall meetings scheduled in the coming weeks.

Town Hall Meeting #1

  • 6:30 p.m. Thursday, August 24
  • Arlington Municipal Airport, 5000 South Collins St.

Town Hall Meeting #2

  • 6:30 p.m. Thursday, August 31
  • Arlington City Hall, 3rd Floor Council Briefing Room, 101 W. Abram St.



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