Central Health sets up final vote for tax rate increase

Central Health building in east Austin
The Central Health board of managers voted Aug. 26 to set a maximum tax rate for the 2021 fiscal year that would represent an increase over the previous year's tax rate. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Central Health board of managers voted Aug. 26 to set a maximum tax rate for the 2021 fiscal year that would represent an increase over the previous year's tax rate. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Following months of financial planning meetings and budget previews, Central Health is officially taking a tax rate increase to the public ahead of a final vote.

The Central Health board of managers voted Aug. 26 to set a maximum tax rate of $0.110306 per $100 valuation for its 2021 fiscal year. That tax rate is a 6.9% increase over the effective tax rate, budget documents show.

The effective tax rate is the rate Central Health would have to set if its budget were to remain flat year to year.

The 2021 fiscal year maximum tax rate set by the board of managers is also a 4.48% increase over last year's tax rate of $0.105573 per $100.

Budget documents from the health care district show this tax rate will translate to a tax bill of $392 for the average Travis County household valued at $355,379. Central Health estimates the average tax bill will increase approximately $25 year over year.

“Central Health hasn’t changed much as it relates to the total burden of the tax bill,” said Jeff Knodel, vice president and chief financial officer of Central Heath.

In keeping with state law, Central Health will hold a public hearing on the proposed maximum tax rate, during which members of the public can provide public comment on the record ahead of the final vote. The board of managers voted Aug. 26 to set the date for that hearing on Sept. 9.

According to Central Health officials, the state has not waived the requirement for public hearings to be held in publicly owned buildings, so the Central Health administrative building at 1111 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, will be open for that public hearing.

However, the public may further provide comment through a virtual hearing hosted by Central Health. The health care district “strongly encourages” the public to do so in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

One week ahead of the public hearing, Central Health on Sept. 2 will host a public input session for the budget, according to Central Health’s budget calendar. The health care district is further holding an informational session on the budget that is open to the public on Aug. 31.

The Central Health board of managers will vote to finally approve the 2021 fiscal year tax rate and budget on Sept. 16 before sending them to the Travis County Commissioners Court for approval. The court vote is expected to be held Sept. 29.
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.


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