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City Council approves $4.1 billion budget; $77 increase in taxes, fees

September 12, 2018 - 7:50 am
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AUSTIN (KJCE) -- Austin City Council members approved a $4.1 billion budget Tuesday for the new fiscal year beginning October 1.

The budget represents a 4% increase in spending from the prior year, city officials say. Council voted 10-1, with Ellen Troxclair opposing.

The property tax rate was set at 44.03 cents per $100 of taxable property value. Total city taxes and fees for the average homeowner are expected to increase by $77.31 per year, about 2% higher than last year.

The tax rate increases revenue approximately 5.4 percent over the previous fiscal year.

"The approved Budget follows months of engagement, discussion and debate and reflects the priorities of the Council and, I believe, the community," said Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk. "It authorizes the City of Austin to invest in affordable housing, tackle homelessness, build fire stations, hire police officers, and improve streets and sidewalks, while ensuring the community continues to receive great value, world class City services. From here we can move forward and begin the important work that Mayor and Council have asked us to deliver, to make Austin an even better place for all our residents."

Council began their deliberations today working from the city manager’s proposed budget, which included:

  • An increase in the general homestead exemption from 8% to 10%
  • Full funding for the Housing Trust Fund via a total transfer of $5.3 million, a $3.1 million increase
  • $2.4 million of new funding for homelessness programs, building on $26.3 million in on-going expenditures
  • $5.7 million for 33 police officers and equipment, bringing the total number of officers to 1,929
  • An initial $5.4 million for two new fire stations at Moore’s Crossing and Travis Country. $1.7 million including 16 fire fighters and equipment for the new Onion Creek Station, bringing the total number of sworn fire personnel to 1,197 and the number of fire stations to 49
  • $119,000 for 2 new victim services counselors, which brings total program staffing to 29 positions
  • Projected spending of $67.7 million on the 2012 and 2016 Mobility Bond projects, including sidewalks, bike lanes, urban trails, and safety improvements, and Council adopted Corridor Construction Program
  • $11.2 million for the Historic Preservation Fund, funded from Hotel Occupancy Taxes
  • $1.1 million for disease prevention, public health, and translation services
  • $1.8 million in aquatic maintenance, bringing the total Aquatics activity budget to $10.7 million
  • Living wage increase from $13.84 per hour to $15.00, achieving Council’s goal a year early. 

Council members added a $2,500 increase in the senior/disabled homestead exemption (to $88,000), an extra $1 million for homelessness, an additional $1.1 million for the Extended Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (EMCOT) to help individuals with mental illness, and additional funding for parent support specialists, victim services and relationship violence programs.

The chart below details the monthly impact for the typical Austin resident based on the approved fiscal year 2018-2019 Budget with a property tax rate of 44.03 cents per $100 of taxable value.

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