For second straight year, Travis County adopts higher property tax rate for budget

Travis County Administration Building
Travis County commissioners voted Sept. 29 to adopt the county's fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (Community Impact staff)

Travis County commissioners voted Sept. 29 to adopt the county's fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (Community Impact staff)

Following a budget process that local officials say began in February before slogging through the coronavirus pandemic, Travis County will enter fiscal year 2020-21 with a higher property tax rate than in the previous year.

On Sept. 29, Travis County Commissioners Court approved the county’s budget and property tax rates for FY 2020-21. According to budget documents on the Travis County website, the total budget will rise to $1.29 billion, an increase of more than $80 million over last year’s budget.

Commissioner Gerald Daugherty was the lone dissenting vote for the adoption of the budget and tax rate.

The county’s general fund totals $945.04 million in FY 2020-21, a 7.07% year-over-year increase for the general fund.

According to numbers provided by Hector Nieto, Travis County public information officer, the county’s expenditures for ongoing funds, which includes expenses for departments such as public safety and health and human services, rose by just $3.89 million—up to $715.25 million—for FY 2020-21.


“My understanding is this is a very small increase in the [ongoing] fund,” Commissioner Brigid Shea said.

Travis County Budget Director Travis Gatlin told commissioners Sept. 29 that the increase in the ongoing funds budget was the lowest year-over-year percentage increase he had observed when researching the past two decades of budget documents. According to Travis County budget numbers, $715.25 million allocated for ongoing funds is a 0.5% increase from the previous year’s budget.

In order to fund the budget increase for FY 2020-21, Travis County commissioners approved a total tax rate of $0.374359 per $100 valuation, a 1.4% increase over last year’s tax rate, according to county budget documents.

This is the second straight year that Travis County has increased its property tax rate, historical budget documents show.

Under the new tax rate, in FY 2020-21, the average taxable Travis County property valued at $355,379 will be levied $1,330.39 in property taxes, according to the county.


OTHER NOTES


CENTRAL HEALTH BUDGET APPROVED BY COUNTY

Commissioners voted Sept. 29 to approve the FY 2020-21 property tax rate and budget for Central Health, Travis County’s health care district.

As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, next year’s budget for Central Health includes a $20 million increase in health care delivery services, including dental care and behavioral health services.

The adopted FY 2020-21 total tax rate of $0.110306 per $100 valuation is a 6.9% increase over the effective rate, or the rate Central Health would have to set if its budget were to remain flat.

HALF-MILLION RELEASED FOR NONPROFIT GRANT PROGRAM

Nonprofit organizations may now apply for grants from the Travis County Health and Human Services Department for reimbursement of costs incurred due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The TCTX Serve grant program, funded by Travis County’s Coronavirus Relief Fund package, will release up to $560,000 in grants to eligible organizations.

Lawrence Lyman, division director of Research and Planning for Travis County’s Health and Human Services Department, told commissioners that an emphasis will be placed on organizations that direct social services to ZIP codes that are “most vulnerable or most impacted by to COVID-19.”

The program will award a maximum grant of $50,000, and all funds must be spent by the end of December 2020.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


MOST RECENT

Chili’s Grill & Bar sign
Chili's Grill & Bar opens newest Austin restaurant in Four Points area

This Chili’s location offers curbside pickup service, delivery through Doordash and alcohol to go.

Sun City is located in Georgetown. (Courtesy Hunter Pontious)
Williamson County sees $14.6B year-over-year increase in taxable value

Chief Appraiser of Williamson Central Appraisal District Alvin Lankford presented preliminary Williamson County taxable values to the Commissioners Court on May 10.

Austin's phased process for moving people experiencing homelessness out of unregulated encampments will roll out through the summer. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
City officials detail homeless education and enforcement plan with Proposition B ordinances now in effect

The process that will eventually remove the city's homeless encampment begins this month with outreach and warnings and will stretch until late summer with full enforcement.

Residents will have until May 2023 to obtain a Real ID. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
US Department of Homeland Security extends Real ID deadline until 2023

Drivers will have until May 2023 to get the Real ID, which will be required for adults boarding a U.S. commercial flight.

Susan Bailey was elected president of the American Medical Association in June 2020. (Courtesy American Medical Association)
'I am convinced we will beat COVID': American Medical Association President Susan Bailey discusses vaccine successes, myths, challenges

Bailey was elected president of the American Medical Association in June 2020. Much of the organization's focus during that time has been on vaccine transparency and distribution.

Under the city of Austin's phased enforcement plan released May 10, citations at public encampments will begin in mid-June to be followed by arrests and clearances in July as necessary. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's homeless ordinances back on books May 11, but arrests, camp clearings won't start until July

Austin announced a "phased process" to introduce Proposition B ordinances beginning with one month of outreach followed by one month of warnings and citations before arrests or clearances begin as necessary.

Pfizer vaccines could become available to kids 12 and up as soon as next week. (Courtesy Adobe Stock/Graphic by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
FDA expands Pfizer vaccine authorization to children ages 12 to 15 years old

This is the first time people under the age of 16 have been granted access to a coronavirus vaccine.

Here is what you need to know today about COVID-19 in Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Nearly 60% of Williamson County residents have received one dose, plus more COVID-19 news

Here is what you need to know today about COVID-19 in Williamson County.

Butler Park Pitch & Putt reopened to the public in April. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Butler Park Pitch & Putt reopens in Austin; turf fields open in Pflugerville and more Central Texas news

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

I-35 traffic
State now accepting public input on North Austin I-35 overhaul project

The public now has the ability to review and provide feedback on planning materials for a $400 million I-35 project.

Tents have become a common sight throughout Austin including along Cesar Chavez Street downtown, but with the passage of Proposition B the city may now consider moving unsheltered homeless individuals to designated sites. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall notebook: Designated campsites for the homeless are back on the table

City staff had previously dismissed developing official camping locations in 2019, but new directives from City Council this week could revive the concept in Austin.