PropertyÂ values rose more than 10 percent across Dallas County this year, the highest jump in at least two decades.Â The increases mean steeper tax bills for many property owners and unexpected jackpots for local governments, prompting debate among officials over whether to keep the cash or cutÂ tax rates.Â "Our middle class didn't get raises like this, and they can't afford these increases," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Tuesday. "We can always find a way to spend a windfall, but it's best in this economy for us to give people back their money."Â Â Jenkins cited aÂ Dallas Morning NewsÂ analysisÂ that found the rising preliminary property values increased disproportionately for middle-class homeowners. It's unclear whether that disparity remained after property owners' protests ended and many won reductions. The official numbers were released this week, though some properties remain in dispute.Â The potential tax windfall far exceeds the budget predictions of many government entities, such as the county, the city of Dallas and Parkland Memorial Hospital. Dallas Independent School District, meanwhile, anticipated a greater increase.Â "It's the largest increase we've seen since I have records," said Ryan Brown, the county budget director. The records dateÂ to 1989. The closest the county has come was in 2008, when values rose 9.8 percent before plunging during the recession.
-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Dallas Morning News, July 27, 2016