Rollingwood 2020-21 budget features tax rate increase, police retention initiative

Rollingwood City Council met virtually Sept. 16 to adopt the fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (Courtesy city of Rollingwood)
Rollingwood City Council met virtually Sept. 16 to adopt the fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (Courtesy city of Rollingwood)

Rollingwood City Council met virtually Sept. 16 to adopt the fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (Courtesy city of Rollingwood)

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 $3,236an 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.

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.


The Garden at Ellera will feature menu items such as a lobster po'boy. (Courtesy The Garden at Ellera)
The Garden at Ellera opens in Bee Cave

The Garden at Ellera opened a 3,600-square-foot restaurant at 12432 Bee Caves Road, Bee Cave. Inspired by Boston Public Garden, the eatery will offer Boston-style Italian cuisine crafted by Executive Chef Tim Lane.

An "I Voted" sticker is left outside the Northwest Recreation Center in Austin, one of 37 early voting polling places open in Travis County. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than half of all Travis County voters have cast their ballots, exceeding early voting turnout percentage in 2016

More than 448,000 votes have been cast in Travis County. Early voting closes on Oct. 30.

Capital Metro released new renderings Oct. 26 of its proposed Project Connect expansion, which voters will decide Nov. 3. This rendering shows a Blue Line light rail train at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Rendering courtesy Capital Metro)
In final week of early voting, here is what Austin residents should know about Project Connect

The proposition appears as a 237-word block of text near the end of the ballot but boils down to a simple question: Are voters for or against a significant expansion of local public transportation, paid for in part with property tax funds?

On Oct. 26, Eanes ISD welcomed the 27 members of the district's first diversity, equity and inclusion advisory committee. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Eanes ISD names 27-member diversity, equity and inclusion committee

After more than a month-long process, Eanes ISD announced Oct. 26 the 27 members of the district’s first diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, advisory committee.

9 Leander ISD schools needed in next 6 years for attendance growth, report says

The report said the district needs to build seven elementary schools, one middle school and one high school over the next six years.

Lake Travis ISD will purchase 4,000 new laptops for the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Lake Travis ISD allocates $2.4 million to tech upgrades due to pandemic

The continuation of virtual learning, in part, has created a greater demand for technology resources, according to Chris Woehl, LTISD’s executive director for technology and information services.

East West Manufacturing will retain 30 jobs and create an additional 30 new jobs for a total of 60 full-time jobs in Round Rock over five years, according to an economic incentive agreement signed Oct. 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Round Rock to add 60 jobs and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Juliet Italian Kitchen
Juliet Italian Kitchen to open Arboretum location and 7 other dining updates in Northwest Austin

Juliet Italian Kitchen is set to open its second Austin restaurant in the Arborteum early in 2021.

Leander ISD combines attendance rezoning for Tarvin and Elementary School No. 29

District officials and board members elected to combine the two schools' rezonings to lessen confusion for families.

Eanes ISD trustees met Oct. 20 for a board meeting. (Courtesy Eanes ISD)
Eanes ISD sees dip in enrollment numbers

Eanes ISD has seen receding enrollment numbers as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to an update from Deputy Superintendent Jeff Arnett during an Oct. 20 board meeting.

Leander ISD adds 17 early-release school days to give teachers planning time

The early releases will begin Nov. 11 and includes 17 Wednesdays through the rest of the school year.