Debt Obligations

The City of Denton is committed to debt transparency. On the Debt Star webpage, you will find information regarding the City’s outstanding debt for the most recently completed fiscal year. There is also a narrative overview with explanations of terminology.

The City of Denton utilizes long-term debt to finance non-operating expenses, which may include equipment, facilities, and the acquisition of land.  Unlike the Federal Government, the City cannot issue debt to fund operating expenses or deficit spending. All debt issued by the City must be approved by the Texas Attorney General’s Office prior to the final sale of the debt.

The City issues two types of long-term debt:  General Obligation Debt and Revenue Bond Debt.  The City also differentiates between tax-supported and revenue-supported debt to provide the public with a clear understanding of which debt will be paid by property taxes versus rate revenues.

General Obligation Debt

  • General Obligation bonds (GOs) are generally voter approved and backed by the full faith and credit of the City (property tax pledge) and must be approved at an election.  Voter approval may be granted during one of two general election dates each year.  GOs which are issued to refund outstanding debt do not require voter approval.  Under the City’s debt policy, GOs strive to have a final maturity of twenty (20) years or less.
  • Certificates of Obligation (COs) do not require voter approval and generally have a dual pledge of a specific City revenue source as well and the full faith and credit of the City. House Bill 1869 from the 2021 Texas legislative session limits the use of COs to specific purposes including self-supporting debt, designated infrastructure, vehicles, existing facility renovations, public safety, and utility system improvements. Some examples of pledged City revenues are electric, water, wastewater, and drainage revenues. Under the City’s debt policy, COs will strive to have a final maturity of thirty (30) years or less.  

Revenue Bond Debt

  • Revenue bonds are secured by only a pledge of the operating revenues of the City’s electric, water and wastewater funds (collectively known as the “Utility System”) and not the full faith and credit of the City.  Under the City’s debt policy, revenue bonds will strive to have a final maturity of thirty (30) years or less.  Historically, most revenue bonds have been issued with a twenty (20) year final maturity.

Debt Obligations Summary as of September 30, 2021

  • The City’s total outstanding principal and interest is $1,653,406,313.11.
  • Tax-supported debt obligations expressed as a total and per capita:
Tax-Supported Debt (1) 
$393,710,223Property Tax Supported Debt Obligations (P&I)
$2,746.19Total Per Capita
143,366 Population (2)

(1) Excludes general obligation debt issued for Electric, Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste since the City pays that debt with revenues from each respective fund rather than property taxes. General obligation debt is issued with a limited pledge of Utility System revenue for this purpose.

(2) City of Denton Planning Department, 2021 

House Bill 1378 from the 2015 Texas legislative session requires local governments to provide detailed information and analysis of outstanding obligations. The City's annual report can be found in the links below.

  • The City’s total revenue-supported debt is $1,265,868,828.
  • The City does not have any lease-purchase or lease-revenue obligations.
  • Prior five years showing total outstanding tax-supported and revenue-supported debt:
 Tax Supported DebtRevenue Supported DebtTotal Debt
FY 2016-17$215,077,833$1,194,589,850$1,409,667,683
FY 2017-18$273,147,848$1,121,932,438$1,395,080,286
FY 2018-19$284,102,959$1,071,881,263$1,355,984,222
FY 2019-20$319,733,643$1,028,942,078$1,348,675,721
FY 2020-21$387,537,485$1,265,868,828$1,653,406,313

Bar Chart Depicting Total Outstanding Debt FY 21

  • Prior five years showing inflation adjusted tax-supported debt per capita:
 Tax Supported DebtPopulationDebt Per CapitaCPI Multiplier (1)Adjusted Debt Per Capita
FY 2016-17$215,077,833124,988$1,7211.105458551
FY 2017-18$273,147,848127,093$2,1491.079101738
FY 2018-19$284,102,959136,927$2,0751.059896658
FY 2019-20$319,733,643140,956$2,2681.046980229
FY 2020-21 $393,710,223143,366$2,7461.000000000$2,746

(1) Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) U.S. city average series for all items, not seasonally adjusted. This data represents changes in the prices of all goods and services purchased for consumption by urban households.

Bar Chart Depicting the Inflation-Adjusted Tax-Supported Debt Per Capita FY 21