Rollingwood City Council on Sept. 16 adopted the fiscal year 2020-21 budget, which features a $0.0281 tax rate increase and new employee retention initiatives.
Council approved a $1.56 million total budget, a $36,454.55 increase from the current fiscal year.
Following deliberations during the virtual meeting, council approved a voter-approval tax rate of $0.2369 per $100 of valuation. The 3.5% increase would provide the city with an additional $78,543 in revenue.
According to city staff, a homeowner’s average annual cost for city property taxes in Rollingwood will be approximately $3,236—an increase of $384 from the current fiscal year.
“It’s not the desire of anybody on this council ... to raise taxes,” Mayor Michael Dyson said. “But there is a tremendous amount of outside forces that unfortunately are going to pressure us this next fiscal year.”
Rollingwood and neighboring cities are anticipating a continued reduction in sales tax revenue as the result of the coronavirus pandemic. The city anticipates $500,000 in sales tax revenue in FY 2020-21—resulting in a $107,172.71 dip in projected income from sales tax in the current fiscal year.
Council Member Amy Pattillo also noted unforeseen events have hurt city revenue. She gave the Travis Central Appraisal District’s decision not to appraise residential properties this year as an example. Appraised values would have probably increased, which would have added to the city’s property tax revenue.
Included in the FY 2020-21 budget are new employee retention programs designed to retain city staff and police officers.
Council approved a police retention incentive program to bring police department compensation in line with surrounding agencies, according to city information. The annual cost of the program was projected at $54,835.
The budget also included a $31,200 allocation of funds for reserve officer pay. Reserve officers, which are generally retired police officers, can assist the Rollingwood Police Department in the event of temporary department vacancies.
“We work hard to make sure that our PD was where our community expected and wanted it to be,” Dyson said. “I think it’s doing the right thing to make sure they continue to have the tools to maintain the PD that Chief [Jason] Brady has built and that I’m sure we’re all very proud of at this point.”
A $46,800 administrative retention initiative passed 3-2 with Council Members Sara Hutston choosing to abstain and Buck Shapiro voting against. The budget allocation will fund salary bumps and title changes for staff members, including City Secretary Ashley Wayman, in an effort to meet industry compensation ranges.
All city staff will also see a 2% cost-of-living adjustment in the next fiscal year, which will cost the city $28,553.