In budget preview, Central Health officials earmark $30M bump in health care delivery costs

The Central Health Board of Managers was shown preliminary budget projections on Aug. 21.

The Central Health Board of Managers was shown preliminary budget projections on Aug. 21.

One month before its budget is officially due for approval, officials at Central Health—Travis County’s health care district—showed they expect to spend tens of millions of dollars more in the upcoming fiscal year on health care services.

The budget, if passed as shown at the Aug. 21 Central Health Board of Managers meeting, represents a 12.07% increase in services costs. In all, Central Health is budgeting $276.9 million in health care delivery costs in the 2019-20 fiscal year, up from the current year’s $247.4 million budget.

“The population in Travis County is growing daily,” said Sherri Greenberg, vice chairperson for the Central Health Board of Managers. “As the number of people who are needing our services [grows] … we are needing to provide additional services … both in the number of people and the types of health situations.”

The largest percentage jump in costs comes in operations and support, health promotions and costs related to Central Health’s Downtown Campus. Central Health is set to budget $46.9 million to those endeavors, a $16.6 million bump.

To support the budget increase, Central Health is considering adopting a tax rate up to 6.9% over the No New Revenue Rate, or the effective tax rate. The effective tax rate is a rate that would generate the same amount of tax revenue if applied to properties taxed in consecutive years, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

While Central Health is set to lower its property tax rate to 10.4984 cents per $100 valuation—down from the 2018-19 fiscal year’s rate of 10.5221 cents per $100 valuation—the health care district will collect more in tax revenue due to rising property appraisal values.

Managers were shown seven-year forecasts for two effective rate increases: 6.3% and 6.9%. After the budget discussion, managers expressed concern over the prospect of lower cash reserves that a 6.3% effective rate forecasted.

“If we go with 6.3% it does weaken us … over time,” board member Charles Bell said. “I’m not sure that with all of the other risks that we would face over the next 3-4 years that would be sufficient to cover us and the issues that we might face.”

Central Health is hosting a community discussion to take feedback from the public on its FY 2019-20 budget at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 26. The meeting will be held at the Central Health board room, located at 1111 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin.

The board of managers will vote on Central Health’s maximum tax rate Aug. 28 at a special budget meeting. Two public hearings on the budget and tax rate will be held Sept. 11 and Sept. 18 before the Travis County Court of Commissioners votes to approve the Central Health budget Sept. 24. Travis County is slated to approve the Central Health tax rate one week later on Oct. 1.


Community members examine updated zoning maps at land development code town hall in October.
Land development code rewrite heads to City Council for final approval, marking home stretch of nearly 7-year process

Austin's long-awaited land development code rewrite is heading to City Council for final approval.

Crews work on updating a section of I-35 in Central Texas (Courtesy TxDOT)
Central Texas transportation agencies investing millions in I-35 for new lanes, intersection improvements aimed at aiding mobility

About 20 miles of I-35 through Central Texas will see an infusion of $400 million in state and federal funding to add one to two additional lanes in an effort to improve mobility.

Sage Blossom Massage's new Oak Hill location features a salt room. Courtesy Sage Blossom Massage
Sage Blossom Massage now open in Oak Hill

Sage Blossom Massage's new Oak Hill location at 6705 W. Hwy. 290, Austin, opened in early October. Sage …

A photo of the Dripping Springs City Council.
Dripping Springs City Council opts for partial refund to Mark Black in wedding venue fee dispute

Dripping Springs City Council voted Nov. 12 to refund $2,121 of Mark Black's $12,800 request.

Delia Garza speaks to her constituents at a town hall meeting in 2017.
Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza says she will not seek re-election as Travis County attorney rumors heat up

Austin's mayor pro tem will not seek reelection to her Southeast Austin district seat in 2020.

Deece Eckstein at the Nov. 12 Travis County Commissioners Court meeting
Travis County intergovernmental relations officer announces retirement, triggers "aggressive" hiring schedule

Deece Eckstein, Travis County's inaugural intergovernmental relations officer, will retire at the end of the year.

Austin City Council members answer questions at a town hall on homelessness
Austin no longer pursuing homeless shelter off Ben White with pivot to hotel purchase

Austin will no longer pursue the controversial purchase of a South Austin tract to use for a new homeless shelter.

Austin City Council will consider purchasing and renovating a motel property along I-35 in South Austin to provide shelter for the city's homeless individuals. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
City may buy Rodeway Inn in South Austin, renovate property to house homeless

The city is considering adding $8 million to its fiscal year 2019-20 budget to accommodate the purchase.

A photo of a stretch of East Slaughter Lane with yellow delineators.
Austin Transportation Department installs safety upgrades to 500 block of East Slaughter Lane

The Austin Transportation Department closed the median break between 515 and 516 E. Slaughter Lane.

Cooper's Sandwiches now open in Southwest Austin

Cooper's Sandwiches has opened on Southwest Parkway.

Four-story office building added as construction begins on Plano’s Mustang Square mixed-use project

A new four-story office building will headline a major mixed-use development in Plano, developers announced Oct. 2 as crews began work on the Mustang Square project.

The ATX Helps coalition launched with a press conference on Nov. 7.
A $14 million campaign and 300-bed shelter: Austin’s private sector leads new coalition to address homelessness

A coaltiion of private sector, non-profit and faith-based groups has formed to address Austin's homelessness crisis.

Back to top