The Arlington City Council took its first look Tuesday, Aug. 1 at the proposed $672.6 million Fiscal Year 2024 operating budget, which includes a recommendation for a property tax rate reduction for an eighth consecutive year and increases for residents’ water rate, the garbage collection rate and stormwater fee.
Proposals for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, include investments in public safety, city streets, buildings and other public infrastructure, community cleanliness initiatives and support for Arlington’s award-winning parks and recreation amenities. This includes hiring more police officers, firefighters and code compliance inspectors, additional median mowing and litter pickup, and preparations for the winter 2024 opening of the voter-approved active adult center.
Arlington's proposed budget and business plan is built around supporting the City Council's six priorities: Build Unity, Champion Great Neighborhoods, Support Youth and Families, Invest in Our Economy, Enhance Regional Mobility and Leverage Technology,
The budget, which the Council will vote on in September after a series of public meetings, includes:
- $202 million combined for the Police and Fire departments, which includes $8 million in funding for additional firefighters and equipment to facilitate a transition to four-person staffing at all fire stations and $1.5 million in increased investments in the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center and its employees. It also includes more than $600,000 for five new school resource officers, a shared expense with the City’s partner, Arlington ISD.
- $5 million in additional funding for street maintenance, bringing the total street maintenance budget for the year up to $36.1 million. For street construction, $40 million is proposed in this year’s capital budget.
- $1.5 million for city and neighborhood cleanliness initiatives, which includes $751,000 for three new code compliance officers and a pay increase for all code compliance employees to help with retention, $372,000 for mowing,
$125,000 for litter pickup, $75,000 for public parking garage maintenance. It also includes an additional $215,000 for the City’s participation in the Hazardous Waste Disposal Program, which allows Arlington residents to drop off items such as paint, motor oil, batteries, pesticides, and other household chemicals at the Environmental Collection Center in Fort Worth at no charge.
- $8.8 million for a 6% raise for public safety employees and 2% raises for most civilian employees citywide.
- Nearly $10 million for the Arlington Public Library, which includes $164,000 in new funding for replacement carpet at the Southwest Branch Library and mobile data plans for hotspots and Chromebooks available to the public for checkout. Additionally, two full-time positions are being added: one for the Downtown Library and a shared position for the branch libraries
Proposed Property Tax Rate Reduction
Arlington is also proposing to lower its property tax rate for an eighth consecutive year – this time by a penny. The City Council will consider whether to reduce the City’s property tax rate, which is currently $0.5998 per $100 of assessed value, to $0.5898 per $100 of assessed value.
The Arlington City Council is expected to reauthorize a variety of residential property tax exemptions, including the largest homestead exemption by state law of 20% of the property value. The City also offers a senior tax freeze as well as $60,000 exemptions for those who are over 65, disabled veterans and disabled persons. Exemptions are also available to surviving spouses of U.S. Armed Forces members and first responders who are killed in action. Seniors over the age of 65 in Arlington may also be eligible to defer payments.
Water, Garbage and Recycling and Stormwater Fees
Arlington strives to provide quality services and amenities to its residents, visitors, and business community at the lowest possible cost. Even with a $2.76 per month proposed increase to the City’s water rate for the average residential customer, Arlington’s water and sewer rates remain among the lowest in the North Texas region.
The City also plans an increase to the residential garbage collection rate of 75 cents per month, driven by fuel and wage increases, and an increase to the stormwater rate by 50 cents per month. The stormwater fee generates approximately $25 million a year to help Arlington reduce the existing potential for stormwater damage to public health, safety, life, property, and the environment through mitigation projects as well as to preserve, protect and enhance the city’s waterways.
If all these proposed rates are adopted by Council, the average homeowner would see an increase of $17.38 a month in City of Arlington property taxes, water and sewer fees, garbage and recycling fees and stormwater fees combined.
Budget Town Hall Meetings
Arlington residents are invited to learn more about the proposed FY24 budget at two upcoming town hall meetings.
- 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023: Arlington Police South District Service Center, 1030 SW Green Oaks Blvd.
- 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, 2023: City Council Chamber, City Hall, 101 W. Abram St.