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Financially Irresponsible Panther Island Agency Proposes Tax Hikes

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A government entity with a history of mismanaging taxpayer monies is considering billing taxpayers even more.

When Tarrant Regional Water District announced a September 20 property tax hearing for citizens to voice their opinion, they failed to show the property tax rate they are proposing. Texas Scorecard asked TRWD for the proposed rate.

“TRWD’s current tax rate is 0.0287 cents per $100 valuation,” TRWD spokesman Chad Lorance replied. “The 2022 rate would remain the same, if approved by the board at the tax rate hearing on Sept 20.”

Because property values fluctuate, year-to-year comparisons of tax rates are meaningless. Data from the Tarrant Appraisal District shows the proposed property tax rate will hike TRWD’s tax bill for the average homeowner in Tarrant County by more than 7.5 percent from last year and 143 percent since 2013.

Lorance was asked what the no-new-revenue rate—the rate that, if adopted, would keep tax bills more or less stable in the aggregate—would be for the coming fiscal year. He didn’t provide it before publication.

TRWD’s financial data shows the district saw dramatic property tax revenue increases last year while citizens suffered during the government-mandated economic shutdowns and restrictions. They took $21.9 million from taxpayers in 2020, more than double the amount in 2016.

A History of Mismanaging Taxpayer Money

“They’re finding a way to finance a failed project,” citizen Steve Hollern told Texas Scorecard. “This is just a total boondoggle, and for them to want to raise the taxes just because they can isn’t right.”

TRWD is the agency that manages Panther Island, the $1.2 billion taxpayer-funded real estate redevelopment project disguised as flood control. A 2019 programmatic review found the project cost taxpayers roughly $383 million as of 2018—with no aspect of construction completed. Last year, it was still in the design phase; as of this

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