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 Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


Tacodeli co-owners Roberto Espinosa and Eric Wilkerson opened their first location in 1999. The seventh location for the local chain in Austin will open this summer in Circle C. (Courtesy Tacodeli)
Tacodeli to open a Circle C location this summer

The new location will be the seventh in Austin for the locally based chain, which first opened in 1999.

Photo of a girl weariing a mask and backpack
Austin ISD: mask policy to remain after new CDC guidance

The district said it would continue to require masks at least through the end of the current school year.

The city of Austin's Smart Mobility Office has partnered with Ford on self-driving vehicle initiatives. (Courtesy Ford Motor Company)
Austin's transportation department paving the way for rise in autonomous vehicle traffic

Several private companies are working on autonomous vehicle initiatives in Austin in addition to the city's own smart infrastructure planning.

Goodfolks plans to open in late July to early August. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
New restaurant coming to Georgetown; new Hutto community to have nearly 1K lots and more top Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from Central Texas.

COVID-19 precautions such as a masking requirement remain in place at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Courtesy Austin-Bergstrom International Airport)
'Signs of hope' on the horizon at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after year-plus dip in air travel

Rising passenger counts, new airline operations and an increase in vaccinations could all support the airport's recovery in 2021.

Capital Metro bus
Capital Metro announces increased transit services for Austin FC games this season

Capital Metro has increased the frequency of several bus routes for Austin FC game days at Q2 Stadium.

CDC ends all mask requirements for fully vaccinated people

The guidance states fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

Students at Norman-Sims Elementary School and Austin ISD's 124 other schools across the district will now be allowed to remove masks during outdoor physical activities with the permission of a parent or guardian. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD makes outdoor masking optional, eases other health, safety restrictions

Students engaging in outdoor physical activity will now have the option to remove masks.

House Bill 1024, signed into law May 12, allows restaurants and bars to permanently sell alcoholic beverages to-go. (Courtesy Pexels)
Cocktails to-go are here to stay in Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott signs change into law May 12

Supporters say the change will help restaurants continue to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.