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Denton’s District 3 runoff election between Duff and Meltzer puts tax freeze at forefront

Denton’s District 3 runoff election between Duff and Meltzer puts tax freeze at forefront

Don Duff, owner of local Five R Realty and district 3 Denton City Council candidate. Courtesy photo from

Denton’s District 3 runoff election between Duff and Meltzer puts tax freeze at forefront
June 06
20:24 2017

Alexander Willis | Staff Writer

The final run for Denton City Council in District 3 will take place Saturday June 10, the last day of voting. The two candidates are Donald Duff, a realtor since the 1980s, and Paul Meltzer, a retired businessman and former actor.

This election is a runoff, as none of the previous candidates received 50 percent or more of the votes during the initial race on May 6. The third candidate, who received the least amount of votes, Jason Cole, has since endorsed Duff.

For the most part, Duff and Meltzer exist on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

“I’m absolutely a conservative, and I’m proud of it,” Duff said. “[Meltzer and I] have a different philosophy.”

Meltzer on the other hand is considered the more liberal choice of the two.

These leanings can be seen in their opinions on Proposition 1 from the May 6 ballot.

Proposition 1, also known as the tax freeze, applies to those over 65 years of age and the disabled who qualify for a homestead exemption. The proposition freezes their property tax – so even when property values increase, the taxes paid on those properties do not. The individual who put Proposition 1 on the ballot was none other than Donald Duff.

The tax freeze proved controversial, narrowly passing in early May with a 51.4 percent vote, with 4,173 for and 3,951 against. Advocacy groups such as Indivisible Denton have been campaigning for weeks in opposition of Duff and the property tax freeze, arguing that it shifts the tax burden to younger citizens of Denton. They’ve been seen campaigning and signing Denton residents up for voter registration at Cool Beans, a bar located on Hickory Street.

“Meltzer was against Proposition 1, which I was against too,” media arts junior Cooper Thomson said. “My friend met him, and he seemed like a really cool guy.”

Meltzer does not support an age-based blanket freeze on property tax – which his campaign website says “would divert city resources toward freezing taxes for some of the wealthiest households in the community,” which he calls “fair burden sharing.”

Part of the controversy behind the freeze though, is the specific community that overwhelmingly supports it – and supports Donald Duff, which is Robson Ranch.

Robson Ranch is a community that mostly caters to retirees, with provisions in place restricting most under the age of 55 from living there. Many properties in the community are sold and managed by Five R Realty, which has been owned by Duff since 2012.

Precinct 4003, which is where Robson Ranch is located, is where Duff received over 97 percent of his votes for City Council – a total of 1,204. The other 35 votes were from other precincts within District 3. Robson Ranch, being a retirement community, stands the most to gain from Duff being elected, and his ties to the community are a main point of criticism.

The tax freeze is projected to lose the city $207,000 in its first year in total tax revenue. There is concern regarding when property values increase, but those in favor argue as it stands right now, the losses aren’t staggering.

Duff received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Texas Arlington in 1962, and served in the United States Army from 1962 to 1964. He’s a staunch supporter of increasing resources to Denton’s police and fire departments, saying he doesn’t believe the city has enough policemen.

Duff also referenced Martin Luther King Jr. as a man he respects.

“That was a great man,” Duff said. “Everybody should listen to what that man had to say.”

Despite the large college crowd, the city of Denton has voted for the Republican nominee in every presidential election since 1952, meaning a strong conservative presence still persists today.

Zach Miller, a lifelong Denton resident and owner of Lonestar Fence & Supply, is supportive of the tax freeze, although he noted most elderly are on a fixed income, and that increasing property taxes can be harmful to that demographic.

“In my opinion, I’m all for it,” Miller said.

Featured Image: Don Duff, owner of local Five R Realty and District 3 Denton City Council candidate. Courtesy

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James Norman

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1 Comment

  1. Dentoning
    Dentoning June 08, 15:45

    Robson Ranch owns Denton until the citizens of Denton realize that voting local is extremely important. If RR votes en block, they can control D3, the two At-Large districts and the mayoral seat. Four out of seven wins.

    Reply to this comment

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