Lakeway approves proposed maximum tax rate for fiscal year 2020-21

Lakeway City Council voted to approve a 3.5% maximum property tax rate—which would increase the rate to $0.1694 cents per $100 of assessed value—to help close the deficit in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020-21. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lakeway City Council voted to approve a 3.5% maximum property tax rate—which would increase the rate to $0.1694 cents per $100 of assessed value—to help close the deficit in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020-21. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)

Lakeway City Council voted to approve a 3.5% maximum property tax rate—which would increase the rate to $0.1694 cents per $100 of assessed value—to help close the deficit in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020-21. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)

Lakeway City Council voted Aug. 17 to approve a proposed 3.5% maximum property tax rate—which would increase the rate to $0.1694 cents per $100 of assessed value—to help close the deficit in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020-21. The current rate of $0.1645 has been in place since FY 2018-19.

Like most cities, Lakeway is dealing with a dip in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, and City Manager Julie Oakley said there are several reasons for the deficit in the preliminary $15,057,628 budget.

Lakeway’s total assessed taxable value dropped $14,076,002 year over year to $4,983,732,725. That, Oakley said, compounded with dips in revenue from fines, fees, the swim center and activity center, led city staff to pore over the proposed budget to find line-item savings throughout the budget.

The proposed budget does not include a raise for city employees, and two vacant positions, in municipal court and the police department, have been frozen.

However, four new employees have been included and would be hired at either the six-month or nine-month period of FY 2020-21: a grant program coordinator, a city planner, a fleet maintenance coordinator and an emergency management coordinator—a regional position that will be funded through an interlocal agreement with Bee Cave and The Hills, according to Oakley.


Council Member Steve Smith cast the lone vote opposing the proposed tax rate maximum. The final votes for the tax rate and the FY 21 budget will take place Sept. 28.

Under the proposed new rate of $0.1694, the city tax bill for the owner of a $500,000 home would increase from $822.50 to $847 per year. All of the tax increase is reflected in the maintenance and operations tax rate rising to $0.1263. The interest and sinking debt tax rate will remain the same at $0.0431.

Before approving the proposed tax hike, council discussed dipping into the general fund balance, a rainy-day fund for financial emergencies, to cover the budget deficit instead of a tax hike. Lakeway’s current fund balance is 40% of the annual budget, or roughly $6 million. The fund’s minimum allowed balance is 30%, according to Oakley.

Oakley emphasized that the preliminary budget is subject to change.

Lakeway City Council will host a budget work session Sept. 8. More budget-related meetings are planned and will be published soon before the Sept. 28 votes, Oakley said.

After FY 2020-21 begins Oct. 1, council will periodically revisit the budget, at which point they may add or reduce expenditures based on the city’s financial health, Oakley said.
By Brian Perdue
Brian Perdue is the editor of the Lake Travis-Westlake and Northwest Austin editions of Community Impact Newspaper. A native of Virginia's Appalachian Mountains, he has been a journalist since 1992, living and working in Virginia, Washington D.C., Hawaii's Big Island, Southern California and Florida before moving to Austin in 2019.


MOST RECENT

The legality of reinstating tighter restrictions on public camping, solicitation, and sitting and lying down remains vague. (Courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats ‘statewide camping ban’ as homeless debate heats up

The legality of reinstating tighter restrictions on public camping, solicitation, and sitting and lying down remains vague.

Staff at Lake Travis ISD received COVID-19 vaccinations Jan. 19. (Courtesy Marco Alvarado)
Staff at Eanes, Lake Travis ISDs obtain COVID-19 vaccine

Through a partnership with local health entities, this week, Eanes ISD and Lake Travis ISD secured COVID-19 vaccines for a combined 338 eligible staff members.

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. (Courtesy Texas Children’s Hospital)
'We still have a long way to go': Central Texas physician answers questions about COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions for Community Impact Newspaper related to the coronavirus vaccine, its efficacy and costs, and other related matters.

Pam Sanchez, chief financial officer for Lake Travis ISD, presented early budget estimates during a Jan. 20 school board meeting. (Courtesy Lake Travis ISD)
Lake Travis ISD begins preliminary budget discussions featuring tax rate reductions, enrollment projects

During a Jan. 20 Lake Travis ISD board of trustees meeting, LTISD Chief Financial Officer Pam Sanchez began the 2021-22 preliminary budget overview, which featured projectiosn for enrollment, revenue and property value for the district.

Photo of a doctor handling a vaccine
As community waits anxiously, here is where Travis County stands with COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Demand still exceeds supply for vaccines in the Austin area, even for those in Phase 1 of distribution.

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter. (Courtesy Adobe Stock Images)
President Joe Biden's inauguration spurs reactions from elected officials around Texas

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter.

Art Barn ATX owner Amber Gordon uses resin on a project. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
Get messy on purpose, enjoy lake views at Art Barn ATX in Leander

The business hosts birthday parties and summer camps along with art sessions for all ages.

In addition to vaccine hubs, there are also smaller community vaccine providers throughout Texas, such as pharmacies, that may also have the vaccine available. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
EXPLAINED: When, where and how Texans can receive the COVID-19 vaccine

As Texas is still in the early stages of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, many Texans are still unsure about where, when and how they can get inoculated.

Lakeway city council voted Jan. 19 to annex and zone land off Tomichi Trail for use as a future park. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lakeway council votes to annex and zone land for park to be near Crosswind community

Lakeway City Council heard environmental concerns at its Jan. 19 meeting.

Save Austin Now wants to overturn a city policy that allows public camping. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Aiming to reinstate camping ban, group guarantees it has enough signatures to put controversial policy on ballot

If validated, the controversial decision to lift the public camping ban could be up to voters in May.

The Austin-based eatery's menu is inspired by Nashville hot chicken; offerings include chicken bites, jumbo tenders, chicken sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and homemade pies. (Courtesy Tumble 22)
Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant coming to Round Rock and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.