Denton homeowners around for more than a year remember how real estate taxes used to ratchet up year after year. “We didn’t raise tax rates” insisted council members. “Appraisals just went up!” Budget line items just rolled over with new spending added, no old programs reexamined and reduced. And why not? Rising appraisals could be counted on to cover excessive overheads and waste as the potholes on city thoroughfares deepened.
That stopped this past year, after our campaign called for holding tax bills constant and proving our city could show fiscal discipline. Many administrative positions have been consolidated, as we repeatedly called for. Every department offered up places to trim as part of their budget presentations.
But good financial stewardship also means looking ahead. Yes, we need to maintain these good new practices of financial discipline and accountability. And on that firmer foundation, we need to plan for the Denton we want–with rideable roads and safe, affordable homes, and also cleaner air, cleaner energy, ample green spaces and the vibrant small business and cultural life that sets Denton apart.
A good budget is built on a good long term plan. And a good long term plan is built on a vision. Mine is of a Denton that’s better, not just bigger.