Pillow Talk: Uncommon Sense

by Perry Pillow, AATC's Director of Government Affairs

Common sense, especially in government, is uniquely uncommon.

Governments at all levels do stupid stuff. The federal government gave The National Science Foundation $150,000 to study how stressful it can be to debate politics with friends and family.

Shockingly, the NSF found “that the most stressful thing about politics is the waste and bloat of government spending, especially researching topics such as this.” Our great state of Texas spent $22,500 on a “report of reports” by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. A report on government reports—your tax dollars at work.

Closer to home, cities throughout Tarrant County charge apartment registration fees. These fee average $12.33 per rental unit annually to “register” the property with the city. For a typical 250-unit property, that’s more than $3,000 for a task that takes minimal effort; and is charged every year!

Local government overreach worsens during city budget adoption (September & October).

Entrenched municipal bureaucrats and neighborhood activists view apartments as both a drain on city resources and an untapped revenue source.

With the restraints on ad valorem tax rates effective in fiscal year 2021, cities are enacting fiscal year 2020 budgets that raise revenue as much as possible before the tightening occurs. Currently, cities can generate up to an additional 8 percent in property taxes without triggering a roll-back election. In October 2020, the roll-back rate will be 3.5 percent. With a lethal combination of evaluations and rates, AATC members can anticipate much higher property tax costs for 2020; and, depending on values, slightly higher costs for 2021.

In addition to property taxes, AATC anticipates city fees to increase beginning in fiscal year 2021. State-mandated constraints on local property tax revenues will force cities and counties to seek additional or enhanced revenue sources:  i.e. fee increases. Apartment inspection fees, recycling fees, solid waste fees, permit fees, fire inspections, water/wastewater, storm drainage, pool inspections, mosquito spraying, etc. are all potential fees that our industry needs to watch. These insidious charges are usually buried deep within a property’s water bill.

To combat these onslaughts against freedom requires AATC’s best advocacy efforts and a little common sense.

STATE OF THE INDUSTRY – AATC and AAGD annually host a State of the Industry (SOI)– an economic forecast event held over lunch– is scheduled for Thursday, September 26th, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Westin Galleria (13340 Dallas Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75240). Plan on joining your DFW multifamily colleagues for a look into the future. Per usual, it is $50 to attend the SOI. To register yourself and your team, go to https://www.aatcnet.org/state-of-the-industry.html  This year’s industry luncheon features economist Elliot Eisenberg, PhD and CoStar Analyst Paul Hendershot. Dr. Eisenberg will present a report on national economic trends, and Paul will discuss the DFW multifamily market.

 FORT WORTH MUNICIPAL SUMMIT 2019 – If you own or operate rental property in Fort Worth, then mark your calendar for Thursday, October 17th, and plan on attending the 3rd annual Fort Worth Municipal Summit from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Victory Forest Community Center (3427 Hemphill, Fort Worth, TX 76110). This year’s summit will include panel discussions on multifamily inspections, solid waste/recycling, water safety, fire prevention, and crime prevention. In addition, to the city code, fire, police, and development department directors, the Fort Worth Municipal Summit will include a question and answer session with a Fort Worth Justice of the Peace Lisa Woodard, as well as, breakout sessions with neighborhood patrol officers and code compliance inspectors. To register your team, go to https://apartmenttarranttxassoc.wliinc38.com/events/Fort-Worth-Municipal-Summit-2019-1012/details

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: AATC is partnering with Fort Worth Housing Solutions (FWHS) to identify available units for housing voucher-holders. If your property is willing to consider residents with a housing voucher, please go the following link and complete this form.

(https://aatcnet.wufoo.com/forms/z1di364h16dq13s/) Landlords are asked to thoughtfully consider the unique situation of each voucher-holder to accommodate any extenuating circumstance. AATC also encourages our members to consider various affordable housing programs when they have vacant units. Whether it is housing choice vouchers, homeless veterans, or other housing assistance, providing housing for all income levels is critically important. In addition to FWHS, AATC is working with Arlington Housing Authority, Tarrant County Housing Assistance Office, and the Tarrant County Continuum of Care to provide housing for all Tarrant County residents.

BUSINESS EXCHANGE – The 2019 AATC-AAGD Business Exchange presented by Maintenance Supply HQ was a huge success! This year, 289 executives from 64 DFW multi-housing companies and 369 suppliers from 195 product/service companies conducted more than 4,300 one-on-one meetings. The Business Exchange is the premiere multi-housing networking event in the nation. We raised a record $158,000 for NAA PAC.

Perry Pillow is AATC’s Director of Government Affairs. For more information, contact Perry at ppillow@aatcnet.org or call 817-616-0354.