Cities of Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto increase budgets, adjust tax rates to manage growth

Round Rock City Council held a retreat Aug. 8 to discuss the proposed fiscal year 2019-20 budget and tax rate.

Round Rock City Council held a retreat Aug. 8 to discuss the proposed fiscal year 2019-20 budget and tax rate.

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Tracking tax rates
As Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto experience rapid population growth, city staff and local leaders are adjusting budgets to meet resident demands.

Round Rock City Council adopted a fiscal year 2019-20 budget Sept. 12 that is $87.8 million more than last year’s budget, an increase of 24.6%.

“Most of this [increase] is funding police, fire, roads,” Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan said. “This is going back to protecting and benefiting our citizens. I can’t stress that enough.”

Pflugerville City Council adopted an FY 2019-20 budget Sept. 24 that is $44.5 million more than last year’s budget, an increase of 31.14%.

“We heard our citizens tell us what they wanted. [...] And we have approved a budget and tax rate that is both fiscally conservative while allowing us to purchase the needs we have,” Pflugerville Mayor Victor Gonzales said, in a statement.

Hutto City Council adopted an FY 2019-20 budget Sept. 19 that is $45.8 million more than last year’s budget, an increase of 102.46%.

“I believe in being pro-business,” Hutto City Manager Odis Jones said. “That’s one of the reasons Hutto has been growing since I’ve been here.”


Round Rock FY 2019-20 budget


Round Rock’s population is expected to grow 2.8%, from 116,120 residents in 2019 to 119,371 by the end of 2020, according to estimates by the city. City Manager Laurie Hadley said the city’s FY 2019-20 budget is driven by a desire to maintain service levels for a growing city.





What could I pay in city taxes?


Round Rock City Council voted to raise the city’s tax rate Sept. 26. Residents will see higher city property taxes on their 2019 property tax bill in October to fund services and improvements.





Median tax bill


A Round Rock resident with a median-valued home would pay this amount in city taxes annually.






Contributing factors of a tax bill


The 2019 tax bill is calculated using the 2019 taxable value and the tax rate adopted in September 2019. Taxable value is the market value minus any exemptions.





What does a city budget fund?



  • General city operations, such as police, fire and street maintenance

  • Debt payments for projects including public safety, parks and transportation improvements








How does Round Rock allocate funds?


Here is a look at the city of Round Rock’s budgeted expenses for FY 2019-20.





General fund breakdown


The city’s general fund is the second-largest budget category, following capital improvement projects, for FY 2019-20. Public safety tops the general fund at $57.5 million.






Round Rock capital improvement projects


The city funds large projects for new or improved infrastructure that can take several years to complete.





Round Rock employees


Additional city employees in FY 2019-20: 11 new positions

  • 1 Fire

  • 4 Police

  • 1 General services

  • 1 Library

  • 1 Parks and recreation

  • 1 Planning

  • 1 Transportation

  • 1 Utilities







PFLUGERVILLE FY 2019-20 budget


Pflugerville’s population is estimated to have grown 34% between 2010 and 2018, with a current population estimate by Pflugerville’s Planning Department listing it at 71,200 residents. With the city’s population projected to increase by 5% for the next two years, features to the budget include additional police personnel and increased funding for transportation projects to enhance public safety and mitigate congestion within the city.





What could I pay in city taxes?


Pflugerville City Council voted to maintain the city’s tax rate Sept. 24. But with rising property values, residents will likely see a higher property tax bills in October. Here are some examples.






Median tax bill


A Pflugerville resident with a median-valued home would pay this amount in city taxes annually.






Contributing factors of a tax bill


The 2019 tax bill is calculated using the 2019 taxable value and the tax rate adopted in September 2019. Taxable value is the market value minus any exemptions.





What does a city budget fund?



  • General city operations, such as parks and recreation, police, and streets and drainage

  • Debt payments for projects related to transportation bond projects








How does Pflugerville allocate funds?


Here is a look at the city of Pflugerville’s budgeted expenses, which total $187.4 million, for FY 2019-20.






General fund breakdown


The city’s general fund is the second-largest budget category, following capital improvement projects, for FY 2019-20. At $14.4 million, police services tops the general fund.






Pflugerville capital improvement projects


The city funds large projects for new or improved infrastructure that can take several years to complete.





Pflugerville employees


Additional city employees in FY 2019-20: 13 new positions

  • 2 City planning

  • 2 Engineering

  • 2 Police

  • 1 Parks and recreation

  • 6 Utilities







HUTTO FY 2019-20 budget


The city of Hutto is prioritizing public safety and infrastructure with the adoption of its fiscal year 2019-20 budget.

As the city’s population steadily grows, anticipated expenditures in FY 2019-20 focus not only on infrastructure improvements to streets and drainage systems within the city, but also development projects that, when completed, will add to Hutto’s sales revenue streams.





What could I pay in city taxes?


Hutto City Council voted to increase the city’s tax rate Sept. 19. Combined with rising property values, residents will likely see a higher property tax bill in October. Here are some examples.






Median tax bill


A Hutto resident with a median-valued home would pay in city taxes annually:






Contributing factors of a tax bill


A 2020 tax bill is based on the 2019 assessed property value and the FY 2019-20 property tax rate. Assessed value is the appraised value minus any exemptions.





What does a city budget fund?



  • General city operations, such as police, parks and recreation and public works

  • Debt payments for bonds, including streets, parks and facilities








How does Hutto allocate funds?


Here is a look at the city of Hutto’s budgeted expenses for FY 2019-20.






General fund breakdown


The city’s general fund is one of the largest categories within its operating funds for FY 2019-20.






Hutto capital improvement projects


The city funds large projects for new or improved infrastructure that can take several years to complete.





Hutto employees


Additional city employees in FY 2019-20: 18 new positions

  • 13 Police

  • 1 Administration

  • 2 Utilities

  • 2 Public Works







Property tax 101


Here is a glossary of terms related to property taxes.

Property tax rate
The rate at which a property is assessed, listed as cents per $100 of value.

TAKEAWAY: The property tax rate is made up of of maintenance and operations and debt service components.

Taxable value
It is the value the property tax assessor uses to calculate how much a property owner owes.

TAKEAWAY: Exemptions for homesteads, 65 and over, disabled persons and veterans reduce the taxable value and can vary by entity.

Effective tax rate
It is the property tax rate that generates the same revenue as the prior year, based on the new year’s total value of taxable property less new value.

TAKEAWAY: As property values rise, a city’s total value of taxable properties increases, requiring a lower effective tax rate.

Rollback tax rate
It is the highest a city can raise its property tax rate without possible petition for an election.

TAKEAWAY: Historically, the rollback tax rate has been 8% higher than the maintenance and operations effective tax rate; however, recent legislation lowered this rate to 3.5%, effective in fiscal year 2020-21.





Senate Bill 2 explained


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 2 into law June 12.

The new law restricts a city or county’s ability to raise its property tax rate more than 3.5% without voter approval.

Prior to SB 2, taxing entities could increase property tax rates up to 8% higher than the maintenance and operations effective tax rate without the need for calling an election.

SB 2 and its tax rate cap will go into effect in fiscal year 2020-21.





Benchmarking area tax rates


Cities across the Austin metro area vary in property tax rates. Georgetown boasts one of the lowest local rates, and Hutto levies one of the highest in the area.


By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


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