Georgetown City Council OKs first reading for property tax increase

[Correction: The second reading will be at the Sept. 25 council meeting.]

Georgetown City Council approved the first reading to adopt the 2012–13 property tax rate of 41 cents per $100 property valuation, as well as the city's 2012–13 budget.

The rate was approved 4-3 with council members Tommy Gonzalez, Bill Sattler and Troy Hellman voting against.

The 41 cent tax rate would increase the average homeowner's tax bill by about $46 annually, according to city data. The average home value in Georgetown is $185,915, which is higher than last year's average home value of $184,959, Georgetown Chief Financial Officer Micki Rundell said.

The budget was balanced using the effective rate of 39.7501 cents per $100 valuation. The effective rate is the tax rate required to levy the same amount of revenue on the same properties as the prior year.

The 41 cent rate could generate more than $420,000 of additional revenue, according to the city.

"Those funds are not appropriated in this budget. What my recommendation will be to the council if they do pass the 41 cent tax rate will be that they take that money, and after we do our strategic plan, we will come back and allocate it through a budget amendment," Rundell said. "It takes the leadership of the council to do that. I was very encouraged by their commitment to the vision that the citizens want."

On Sept. 20–21, City Council is expected to begin strategic planning to define the five-year business plan, or City of Excellence, Rundell said. However, the 2012–13 budget was set up as the plan's foundation.

"My hope is that we come away with a statement that says this is what the City of Excellence is, and this is what we will rally around, and this will become the official vision of the city," she said.

The council is set to approve the second reading of the tax rate and budget at its Sept. 25 meeting.