Georgetown's proposed 2020-21 budget lowers property tax rate, focuses on maintaining services as pandemic continues

The overall proposed budget comes in at 10% lower than the adopted fiscal year 2019-20 budget. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
The overall proposed budget comes in at 10% lower than the adopted fiscal year 2019-20 budget. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)

The overall proposed budget comes in at 10% lower than the adopted fiscal year 2019-20 budget. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)

Georgetown’s proposed fiscal year 2020-21 budget would decrease the city’s property tax rate, making it the lowest of all cities in the Austin area with a population greater than 20,000, a news release said.

As a result of the lower tax rate and a decline in the average taxable value of homestead property, the average Georgetown homeowner is expected to pay lower property taxes next year, the release added.

The overall proposed budget comes in at 10% lower than the adopted fiscal year 2019-20 budget. The general fund, which pays for services such as public safety, streets, library services, and parks and recreation, would increase by 3.7%—lower than the city’s population growth of 7.2%.

The proposed budget would decrease the city’s property tax rate by $0.002. The average homestead property in Georgetown has decreased in taxable value by 2.3%, down from $284,765 last fiscal year to $278,001 in FY 2020-21. Coupled with the decrease in the property tax rate, it is anticipated the average homeowner in Georgetown will pay $34 less in property tax in the upcoming year, the release said.

The full proposed budget is available for review at https://finance.georgetown.org. It totals $396 million.


“The proposed budget is intended to respond to pressures from both the uncertainty of the global pandemic and the continued growth in Georgetown,” City Manager David Morgan said in the release. “We incorporated conservative revenue estimates and adjusted expenses to address the most significant impacts of a growing population to continue providing critical services at the high standards our residents expect of us.”

Morgan will present the proposed budget during the Aug. 11 City Council workshop, which starts at 3 p.m. The council will set the maximum tax rate and public hearing dates during the regular council meeting, which starts at 6 p.m.

In-person public comments to the council are limited due to COVID-19. Residents can visit https://agendas.georgetown.org for all options and details about how to provide a comment.

The overall focus of the FY 2020-21 budget is to preserve and maintain city services, in response both to continued growth and uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic, the release said, adding it addresses these priorities through utility and transportation infrastructure development, public safety improvements, long-range planning initiatives, economic development achievements and sustaining city service levels.

Other highlights in the proposed budget include:

  • 15.5 new positions, including staff for Fire Station Number 7 and two police officers;

  • 14 frozen positions for at least part of the year;

  • $1 million in cuts to department budgets, including less funding for training, travel and supplies;

  • Competitive employee compensation and benefits, including market and merit raises for non-civil service employees and market increases and annual step for public safety employees;

  • $77.4 million in capital improvement projects, including investments in transportation, water and wastewater, electric, and the public safety complex;

  • Council discretionary funds for one-time uses, including small-area plan development for the Track Ridge Grasshopper and San Jose neighborhoods;

  • Initiating design for improvements to D.B. Wood Road, the last large project from the 2015 bond; and

  • increased sanitation rates to help pay for increased costs with Texas Disposal Systems, reconstruction of the transfer station and improvements to the household hazardous waste program.


Upcoming budget dates to know:

Aug. 11: First presentation of the full budget; City Council will set the maximum tax rate and public hearing dates.

Sept. 8: Public hearings and first reading of both the tax rate and the budget

Sept. 22: Second reading of the tax rate and budget
By Sally Grace Holtgrieve
Sally Grace Holtgrieve solidified her passion for news during her time as Editor-in-Chief of Christopher Newport University's student newspaper, The Captain's Log. She started her professional career at The Virginia Gazette and moved to Texas in 2015 to cover government and politics at The Temple Daily Telegram. She started working at Community Impact Newspaper in February 2018 as the Lake Travis-Westlake reporter and moved into the role of Georgetown editor in June 2019, and in addition, editor of Leander-Cedar Park in August 2020.


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