Arlington City Council Takes First Look at Proposed $595 Million FY23 Operating Budget
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on August 02, 2022, August 02, 2022

The Arlington City Council took its first look today at the proposed $595 million Fiscal Year 2023 operating budget, which includes a recommendation for one of the largest property tax rate reductions in the city’s history and increases for residents’ water rate, the garbage collection rate and stormwater fee.

Proposals for next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, include investments in public safety, city streets, buildings and other public infrastructure, and support for Arlington’s award-winning parks and recreation amenities. This includes new playgrounds, smoother parking lots for park patrons and money to make sure parks services are equitably accessible for residents.

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:

  • $9.8 million for the Arlington Public Library, which includes $90,000 for repairs to fixtures and finishes at the Southeast Library.
  • $178.5 million combined for the Police and Fire departments, which includes funding for two new fire trucks, three EMS lieutenants and two new police storefronts in southeast and southwest Arlington.
  • $25 million for the Parks and Recreation Department, including $950,000 for playground replacement, $594,000 for parking lot replacement, $900,000 for pond dredging, $1.6 million for erosion control and $750,000 to replace maintenance equipment used for the City’s nearly 100 parks.
  • $10 million in additional funding for street maintenance, bringing the total street maintenance budget for the year up to nearly $32 million. For street construction, $32.3 million is proposed in this year’s capital budget.
  • $1.3 million in additional funding for the City’s Fleet Services as well as additional money to cover higher fuel costs
  • $10.8 million for an average 6% raise for city employees to help retain and recruit staff
  • Adding a principal planner and a commercial inspector in Planning and Development Services to improve efficiencies

The proposed budget also sees multiple promises fulfilled, including the completion of multi-year projects. These include:

  • $311,000 in funding for the final phase of a four-year initiative to replace the City’s streetlights with LED fixtures that are more energy efficient, environmentally friendly and last longer than sodium lamps.
  • Expanding the Police Department’s Behavioral Health Law Enforcement Unit, which was created last year to help de-escalate potentially volatile situations and connect individuals in crisis with appropriate resources for help and support.
  • $350,000 to ensure all firefighters will have a second set of bunker gear.
  • $700,000 in funding to provide access to park facilities and services equitably to residents and their children.
  • Transitioning $3.6 million of expenses that had been covered by American Rescue Plan coronavirus recovery grant funding back to the General Fund. This would be the first year of a four-year plan to move programs out of grant funding as the economy continues to improve.
  • Expanding support for cultural arts by $300,000 using Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue.

Proposed Property Tax Rate Reduction

Arlington is also proposing to lower its property tax rate for a seventh consecutive year – this time by two pennies. The City Council will consider whether to reduce the City’s property tax rate, which is currently $0.6198 per $100 of assessed value, to $0.5998 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% proposed increase to the City’s water rate for the coming fiscal year, Arlington’s water and sewer rates remain among the lowest in the North Texas region.

The City also plans an increase to the garbage collection rate of $3.29 per month, driven by fuel and wage increases, and an increase to the stormwater rate by fifty cents per month. The stormwater fee generates approximately $24 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 of these proposed rates are adopted by Council, the average homeowner would see an increase of $13.41 a month in City of Arlington property taxes, water and sewer fees, garbage and recycling fees and stormwater fees combined.

Budget and Business Plan

Budget Town Hall Meetings

  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24
    South District Police Station, 1030 S.W Green Oaks Blvd.
  • 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29
    Council Chamber, Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram St.
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