In September, cities in western Travis County will finalize budgets and tax rates for the 2013–14 fiscal year. Lakeway is proposing a lower property tax rate, Rollingwood is proposing a higher rate and West Lake Hills and Bee Cave plan to keep the same rates they had the previous fiscal year.


For the second year in a row, the city of Lakeway's proposed budget includes a decrease in the property tax for residents.

At Lakeway City Council's budget work session

Aug. 26, City Manager Steve Jones set a proposed rate for

FY 2013–14 at 17.48 cents per $100 valuation, down from the FY 2012–13 rate of 18.15 cents and FY 2011–12's

19.96 cents. Jones originally proposed a tax rate of 18 cents but was able to lower the rate given the increase in average home value from $382,176 in FY 2012–13 to $392,379 projected for this fiscal year.

Jones said the uptick in home values was because of the buildout of new homes and the city's annexation of land. If the new rate is adopted by Lakeway City Council on

Sept. 16, the city's average homeowner will see a decrease in the amount of city property tax paid from about $694 in

FY 2012–13 to about $686 for FY 2013–14, he said.

City revenue of $11,234,612 is budgeted for FY 2013–14, an increase of 11 percent over projections for last fiscal year. Expenditures for the city are proposed at $11,018,831, an increase of 15 percent over FY 2012–13 projections.

Lakeway staffers are expected to hire a city marshal after Oct. 1 to collect on outstanding warrants, as well as two building inspectors. Other expenses may involve upgrading computer equipment and purchasing new police patrol vehicles and equipment, including a second K-9 unit.

Jones presented the city's proposed

FY 2013–14 special revenue fund budget, which includes the city's participation in the operation of a household hazardous waste facility. During its Aug. 19 meeting, City Council approved the city joining the Hurst Creek Municipal Utility District, WCID

No. 17, city of Bee Cave, Village of the Hills and Lakeway MUD to maintain the proposed facility.

Bee Cave

On Aug. 27, Bee Cave City Council voted to maintain the city's property tax rate at 2 cents per $100 valuation.

The city's taxable value will increase by about $104 million, which includes $56.5 million in new property, and the upcoming budget will raise $20,814.72 more in property taxes than last year, City Manager Frank Salvato said. He said that although the Travis County tax office calculated the city's effective tax rate at 1.88 cents per $100 valuation, Bee Cave City Council has voted to maintain the tax rate at 2 cents per $100 valuation since 2006.

Sales tax revenue for the city is projected to be $7.5 million, an increase over an initial estimate of $7 million.

FY 2013–14 general fund revenue is projected at $7.1 million, including $5.7 million in sales and use tax revenue, $517,000 in franchise fees, $425,000 in building and development fees and $266,000 in municipal court revenue. FY 2013–14 expenditures are slated to include salary and benefits for a new detective, who Bee Cave Police Chief Rusty Pancoast said is warranted by the department's number of open cases.

The general fund's estimated ending balance for the upcoming fiscal year is set at $6.3 million, which includes $3.9 million for the city's reserve tally and $1.5 million for its tax reserve.


Mayor Barry Bone released a proposed budget for the city of Rollingwood that would raise the tax rate from 21.36 cents per $100 of valuation to 23.36 cents per $100 of valuation. The rate is lower than the rollback rate of 23.80 cents per $100 of valuation needed for a rollback election.

The city raised the property tax rate by 7.24 cents per $100 of valuation the previous fiscal year, culminating in a nearly 10 cents per $100 of valuation increase in the past two fiscal years.

The $1.7 million proposed budget calls for a 3 percent salary increase for most city employees, adding an eighth police officer and a new police car. This results in an increase of more than $100,000 to the police budget.

The proposed budget would also increase the park department's expenditures from $75,300 to $117,640. The increase is due in large part to a $40,000 proposed City Hall Waterwise Project.

Council will also call for a bond election to renew the sales tax allocated for street improvements as well as an election for replacing backyard water lines and resurfacing all streets that have not already been resurfaced. The bonds will likely total between $2.5 million–$3 million.

The mayor's proposed budget has a projected $51,141 shortfall. Last fiscal year's adopted budget had a surplus of $3,004.

West Lake Hills

The proposed budget for West Lake Hills includes the hiring of a new police officer but not replacing an officer who left. The hiring will replace an officer who had been collecting outstanding warrants during the past few months.

In that time the officer cleared more than 354 outstanding warrants and collected nearly $70,000 for the city.

The added position, along with the purchase of two new patrol vehicles for $65,000 and digital ticket writing machines for $35,000, would be about a 14 percent increase to the police budget, but the added income to the courts budget would be a wash for the new patrolman, Councilman Taylor Holcomb said.

West Lake Hills staff estimates that there is still about

$1 million in outstanding warrants to be collected.

The council voted to set the preliminary property tax rate at 5.24 cents per $100 of valuation, the same rate the city has had since 2006.

"We're able to keep our property tax rate so low because of the steady increase in our sales tax revenues," Mayor Dave Claunch said. "Local businesses are doing very well as evidenced by the increased revenues. It's clear that we have a good mix of retail businesses and restaurants that contribute to our strong fiscal position."

Council added $200,000 for a brush collection service to combat wildfires. The city passed on brush collection last fiscal year in favor of purchasing the Firewise camera system.

The initial draft of the FY 2013–14 budget shows a total revenue of $4,434,010 and total expenditures of $5,031,967. Claunch estimates a budget surplus of $1.1 million for last fiscal year.