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Denton City Council Approves Property Tax Exemption for Childcare Facilities

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DENTON, TX – In a significant move to support childcare services, the Denton City Council has unanimously approved a property tax exemption for childcare facilities meeting certain qualifications. This decision, made during their latest work session on February 9, 2024, positions Denton as a pioneering city in Texas to offer a full 100% exemption of the assessed property value for eligible childcare centers.

The legislative groundwork for this exemption was laid by Senate Bill 1145, introduced in a previous session, which aimed at amending the tax codes to facilitate such exemptions for qualified facilities. The bill paved the way for Proposition 2, which voters passed on November 7, 2023, amending Article VIII of the Texas Constitution and allowing the tax exemption to move forward.

City Manager Sara Hensley highlighted the critical need for affordable and quality childcare in Denton, noting the statewide shortage of providers. “Our goal is to enhance the early childhood education experience, stimulate economic growth, and open up more employment opportunities for parents,” Hensley stated. The exemption is seen as a strategic move to address these issues by supporting childcare providers financially, making it easier for them to operate and expand their services.

To be eligible for the tax exemption, childcare facilities must adhere to several criteria. These include being licensed with Health and Human Services, participating in the Texas Workforce Commission’s Rising Star Program, and ensuring at least 20% of enrolled children are recipients of subsidized childcare services. Currently, nine childcare facilities in Denton meet these requirements, representing a potential loss of approximately $37,745 in property tax revenue for the city.

This policy announcement aligns with Denton’s commitment to improving early childhood education, as evidenced by a recent partnership with Texas Woman’s University and the Bezos Academy to establish a tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschool. The project, set to break ground in April 2024, further demonstrates the city’s dedication to expanding educational opportunities for its youngest residents.

The City Council’s unanimous support for the tax exemption underscores a collective effort to tackle the challenges facing childcare availability and affordability. By reducing the financial burden on childcare providers, Denton aims to foster a more supportive environment for families, contributing to the city’s overall growth and prosperity.

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