West Lake Hills officials overview 'very lean' 2020-21 budget

West Lake Hills officials began preliminary budget discussions during a July 8 City Council meeting. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
West Lake Hills officials began preliminary budget discussions during a July 8 City Council meeting. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)

West Lake Hills officials began preliminary budget discussions during a July 8 City Council meeting. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Conservatism is the main theme of initial budget discussions in West Lake Hills for fiscal year 2020-21.

“This is going to be a very lean, mean budget, and there’s not a lot [of flexibility] in here,” Mayor Linda Anthony said during a July 8 City Council meeting.

Following coronavirus closures, the city has experienced a drop in revenue due to decreases in sales tax, mixed-beverage taxes and permit fees, according to City Administrator Travis Askey.

In May, officials voted on a budget amendment to reflect a net change decrease of $401,278 on the 2019-20 general fund balance. Moving into the next fiscal year, Anthony confirmed conditions may not immediately stabilize.

“We’re really looking at a very flat, very conservative [budget],” Askey said. “We’re just kind of, you know, hunkering down.”

The proposed budget includes a potential 1.26% ad valorem tax rate increase, which, if approved, would bring the rate to $0.0723 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Askey noted the city is still awaiting property valuation data from the Travis Central Appraisal District, and officials will begin more in-depth budget discussions in July.

Officials also approved the official budget and tax rate calendar for FY 2020-21 during the July 8 meeting.

Anthony, Askey and Finance Officer Vonda Ragsdale will draft the proposed budget, which will be presented at the July 22 City Council meeting.

The approved budget calendar is as follows:

July 8: Council will discuss and consider action regarding preparation of the preliminary FY 2020-21 budget.

July 15: Askey and Ragsdale will meet with city departments to discuss the budget.

July 16: Askey and Ragsdale will meet with Anthony to draft the budget.

July 22: Anthony will present the proposed budget to council.

July 25: Deadline for Travis Central Appraisal District to release estimated appraisals

Aug. 12: Council will continue budget discussions.

Aug 13: City will publish public hearing on proposed property tax rate and budget.

Aug. 26: City will hold budget and property tax rate hearing.

Sep. 9: Council will adopt the FY 2020-21 budget and property tax rate.

Sept. 23: Last day to adopt the budget if necessary
By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.


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