The city spends every penny it takes in, and then some. There is always something on which to spend your money – always on your behalf of course! The following is taken from the 353 page City of Cedar Hill 2017 Annual Budget at http://www.cedarhilltx.com/2240/Budget-for-2016-2017. Since the city broke the giant document down in sections this link points to a table of sections and the content shown below is part 2, Tax Rate Notification. So, do you think the city is going to return that $1,503,246 of property taxes back to you in lower taxes? Have they ever?
The table below also is taken from the 2017 Budget. Notice that the actual revenues are not shown; however, the Net Taxable Value has continually increased, except for four years during the housing price collapse. Notice also, the total tax rate is consistently increasing, except in the second year when it dropped, only because the city wanted to stay below the Rollback Tax Rate (explained under the Rollback page menu). So that means the TaxTown City of Cedar Hill taxpayer is hit with both barrels, increased appraisal values and increased tax rates. There is no mechanism to give taxpayers their money back, since the tax rate never decreases. The maxim is “Spend it all.” And who spends it? Well, it is the “visionaries” at city hall, the mayor, the city council, and the staff. See an example of spending in Question 8 under the Questions Answers page menu.
Neither you, nor the city, have control over your Net Taxable Value, unless you manage to convince the Dallas County Appraisal District that your appraised value is too high, or you make improvements or of course, if the city decides to place apartments near your property. Lowering the tax rate is the method by which the city could return tax money to you. However, as seen by the Total City Property Tax Rate, the tax rate never goes down (unless coerced by the Rollback Rate), and therefore the city never returns tax money. They spend it all.
The city always has it eye on the Rollback Tax Rate. Exceed the Rollback Tax Rate and the city has to come to the voters to approve the increase rate. Going to the voters to ask for a tax increase is anathema for any city, because it calls attention to the tax rate. So, the city keeps the rate just below the Rollback Tax Rate in order to maximize its revenues without having to go to the voters to approve higher taxes. In 2016 the Total City Property Tax Rate was 98.0% of the Truth-In-Taxation Rollback Tax Rate. Notice how the Total Tax Rate stays just below the Rollback Tax Rate.
The above link now points to another section but the page number is the same as shown.
So, in addition to spending your tax money to study how to put high density multi-family apartment units into your city, there is also money spent for funding the Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS). All City of Cedar Hill employess are required to participate in the TMRS. Who would not participate given the city matching rates?
The statement below out of the 2015 Financial Report, to be found at http://www.cedarhilltx.com/108/CAFRCITY OF CEDAR HILL, TEXAS, indicates a range percentage that the city of Cedar Hill requires employees to contribute to their retirment fund. According to the TMRS website at http://www.tmrs.com/city_plans.php, Cedar Hill’s rate is 7% and the city’s matching percentage is 200% or 2/1. This seems to be an overly generous match given it is your tax money. An employee puts in $1 and your tax money puts in $2. That is quite a deal for someone!
“The contribution rates for employees in TMRS are either 5%, 6%, or 7% of employee gross earnings, and the City’s matching percentages are either 100%, 150%, or 200%, both as adopted by the governing body of the City. Under the state law governing TMRS, the contribution rate for each City is determined annually by the actuary, using the Entry Age Normal (EAN) actuarial cost method.”
In fiscal year 2015, a 3% and 4% salary increase were approved for uniform public safety and general employees, respectively. Expenditures budgets have been adjusted based on budgeted revenues.”
COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT 2015
YEAR ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
CAFR For 2016 is recently available
Notice that In the General Fund summary, in the column labeled ACTUAL 2013-2014, the city did spend all it took in and then some. The amount of $599,211 shown in parenthesis indicates deficit spending.