Overburdened property taxpayers across the DFW Metroplex will be paying even more, thanks to the results of the May 4 elections.
Voters who went to the polls on Saturday approved almost all of the debt proposals on their local ballots, most by wide margins. The borrowed money, plus interest, will have to be repaid by local property taxpayers.
Ten cities and school districts in Dallas and Collin counties easily passed debt packages ranging from the small town of Fairview’s $7.6 million fire station bond to fast-growing Prosper Independent School District’s $1.3 billion bond package for 16 new schools—which passed with an overwhelming 84 percent of the vote.
Only two of the area’s city and school district bond propositions were defeated.
Allen ISD voters rejected a $422 million debt plan 53-47 percent. Taxpayers who have seen their school tax bills skyrocket in recent years were concerned about the high cost of the all-or-nothing spending package, which didn’t build a single new school. Allen ISD already owes $1 billion in outstanding bond debt principal and interest, all of which must be repaid with property taxes. Turnout was a relatively high 14 percent—almost double that of the district’s last bond election in November 2015.
Residents of Farmers Branch voted down a $24 million city bond proposal by a two-to-one margin. The library construction bond would have raised the city’s property tax rate by 3 cents. The average Farmers Branch homeowner’s city property tax bill has gone up by 66 percent in the past five years.
Metroplex residents’ property tax burdens have been climbing for years as local officials have failed to rein in spending or lower tax rates enough to offset skyrocketing property values. Officials in Garland and Frisco acknowledged they would raise their city property tax rates, on top of rising property values, if their bonds passed.
Yet despite soaring property tax bills and crushing local debt burdens, fewer than 20 percent of eligible voters bothered to participate in any of the bond elections. But 100 percent of property taxpayers will bear the consequences—all the entities loading up on more debt will be sending homeowners higher tax bills for years to come to pay for their bond-financed spending.
The results of a dozen local bond debt elections are listed below:
Allen Independent School District
Proposed Debt: $422.8 million
Status: FAILED (53-47%)
Celina Independent School District
Proposed Debt: $600 million
Status: Passed (83-17%)
Dallas County Community College District
Proposed Debt: $1.1 billion
Status: Passed (71-29%)
Proposed Debt: $7.6 million
Status: Passed (70-30%)
Proposed Debt: $24 million
Status: FAILED (67-33%)
Proposed Debt: $345 million (5 separate propositions)
Status: All 5 Passed
Proposed Debt: $423.7 million (8 separate propositions)
Status: All 8 Passed
Proposed Debt: $350 million (5 separate propositions)
Status: All 5 Passed
Proposed Debt: $44.6 million (3 separate propositions)
Status: All 3 Passed
Princeton Independent School District
Proposed Debt: $237.4 million
Status: Passed (78-22%)
Prosper Independent School District
Proposed Debt: $1.337 billion
Status: Passed (84-16%)
Wylie Independent School District
Proposed Debt: $193.7 million
Status: Passed (57-43%)
More local election results are available at TexasScorecard.com.