Cedar Park to vote on bigger budget, lower property tax rate Sept. 26

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This story was updated to note that Mayor Pro Tem Mike Guevara did not attend the meeting.

Cedar Park is likely a week away from lowering its property tax rate for the seventh straight year—and from having the lowest tax rate the city has seen in 22 years, according to city officials.

At a Sept. 19 special called meeting, Cedar Park City Council held its second and final public hearing on the proposed 2019-20 budget and tax rate. Budget and tax rate votes are scheduled for the Sept. 26 regular meeting.

The proposed operating budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 is $151,876,791, which marks a 7.3% increase over the current operating budget of $141.6 million.

Cedar Park intends to drop its property tax rate by $0.001, or a tenth of a cent, for fiscal year 2019-20—to $0.448 per $100 of taxable value. However, property owners in the city limits will pay more in property taxes to the city due to increasing real estate values.

Average home value has increased by 4.4% in Williamson County and by 3.2% in Travis County since FY 2018-19, Cedar Park Assistant Finance Director Chad Tustison told council at the meeting.

If the proposed rate is approved, the owner of a home of average value in Cedar Park in Williamson County could pay $57 more to the city in property taxes in FY 2019-20, and the owner of a home of average value in Cedar Park in Travis County could pay $61 more to the city, Tustison said.

Council requested Tustison bring data to the Sept. 26 meeting showing how deeper property tax rate cuts would affect the city’s future bond debt service.

Council also asked for more information on community nonprofits requesting money from the city. The proposed budget has $81,500 allocated for donations to eight nonprofits, the same amount he current budget uses to fund six nonprofits: Faith in Action, WBCO-Meals on Wheels, Hope Alliance, Christian Resource Center, CASA of Williamson County and Sacred Heart Community Clinic. New funding requests in the proposed budget came from the Literacy Council of Williamson County and Samaritan Health Ministries.

In other action Sept. 19, council approved the purchase of two parcels—at 100 and 102 Commercial Parkway—for the Bell Boulevard redevelopment and relocation projects. City Council discussed the matter earlier in executive session.

Council also approved the reappointment of Lance Gunn to the Community Development (Type B) Corporation Board for Place 7. Another planned reappointment—of Kelly Brent to the Economic Development Sales Tax (Type A) Corporation Board for Place 7—was delayed because Brent could not attend the meeting. He was dealing with a family emergency in Beaumont due to the Sept. 19 flooding, according to Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale.

No citizens spoke during public comment, and one citizen spoke during the public hearings regarding the park master plan. One presentation was given by a citizen regarding the park master plan. Mayor Pro Tem Mike Guevara did not attend the meeting.

Marisa Charpentier contributed to this report.

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Brian Perdue
Brian Perdue is the editor of the Cedar Park/Leander edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He got his first newspaper job in 1992 and has worked for newspapers in Virginia, Hawaii, Southern California and Florida.
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