Travis County announces preliminary tax rate, setting stage for 2020-21 budget talks

A phtoto of a sign that says "Travis County"
Travis County budget planning season is ramping up. (Kelli Weldon/Community Impact Newspaper)

Travis County budget planning season is ramping up. (Kelli Weldon/Community Impact Newspaper)

Travis County is set to begin public consideration of its fiscal year 2020-21 budget in August, with a preliminary public hearing scheduled for Aug. 18. An additional hearing will be held Sept. 29 for the official proposed budget before the Travis County Commissioners Court takes a vote. FY 2020-21 begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2021.

Commissioners set the schedule for the budget process at a July 28 meeting, include laying out a timeline for adoption of the FY 2021 property tax rate. The tax rate—suggested in preliminary planning documents as $0.374359 per $100 valuation—will be set on Sept. 22, following a Sept. 15 public hearing.


The preliminary tax rate would represent a 3.6% increase compared to the current rate. Due to the Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act of 2019, counties are not allowed to set the tax rate higher than 3.5% without a constituent vote unless a disaster declaration is in place. However, Travis County is currently under local, state and federal disaster declarations related to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing commissioners to set a higher rate without voter involvement if they so choose.

While Travis County's official budget may not be complete and available for public viewing until Sept. 25, according to a brief prepared by staff, preliminary budget documents are already available on the county's website. The current draft for the overall budget shows a $1.275 billion in revenue and other financing sources with an equal amount of expenditures. In the general fund specifically, the current draft shows $935.16 million in revenues and an equal number in expenditures.

According to staff who prepared the preliminary draft, budget consideration this year were significantly impacted by COVID-19, resulting in a budget $27.9 million less that projections made in February.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition. She graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing in 2017. Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio in Columbia, South Carolina before joining Community Impact in Austin.


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