Budget process ramping up

The Austin City Council will vote on the Fiscal Year 2012–13 budget in mid-September and will likely face a decision on whether to raise property taxes.

In April, the city projected a $15.1 million shortfall in FY 2012–13—beginning Oct. 1—if the current tax rate of 48.11 cents per $100 of property value is retained.

To address this shortfall, it was estimated that the property tax rate would need to be increased 1.84 cents per $100 of taxable value for FY 2013 to balance the budget, meaning the owner of a median valued home of $182,228 would pay $33.53 more per year.

Last year, council approved a 3.6 percent property tax rate raise for FY 2012.

In April, City of Austin Chief Financial Officer Elaine Hart, who was serving as the interim CFO at the time, provided an update on the city's economic forecast. She said the city's property values have grown in value over the last year by 5 percent. An updated forecast is planned for August as the final budget proposal is prepared.

The city is also considering several areas of budget reductions to help address the issue.

On Aug. 1, City Council will be presented with the proposed budget. That meeting is one of three remaining budget work sessions scheduled.

There are also two upcoming public meetings including a budget and property tax rate hearing Aug. 23 and a tax rate hearing August 30.

The public can also weigh in on the city's financial services website—www.ci.austin.tx.us/finance—by submitting comments and questions, posting ideas on the public forum section "Speakup," and participating in a budget priorities survey.


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