City and County

The Travis County Commissioners Court discusses the county budget at its Sept. 29 meeting.

The Travis County Commissioners Court discusses the county budget at its Sept. 29 meeting.

Commissioners approve budget, tax rate

TRAVIS COUNTY– The Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously voted to approve its amended $951.3 million budget for fiscal year 2015-16 at its Sept. 29 meeting.

The budget outlines the county’s major expenditures, such as government, the justice system, and corrections and rehabilitation costs. Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt made a motion to make a few amendments to the proposed budget just before the vote. Overall, changes to this year’s budget included a 4.29 percent increase in revenue from property taxes compared with the FY
2014-15 budget as well as raises for some county employees.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Ron Davis said the county faced challenges when it came to social services and other budget constraints.

“This has been a very trying year. … We have to live within our means, and that’s what we are trying to do here,” Davis said.

The FY 2015-16 budget will raise $23.5 million more in revenue from property taxes than the FY 2014-15 budget. The budget includes $675.4 million in general fund resources, most of which are derived from property taxes, according to budget

In the same meeting the Commissioners Court voted to reinstate in-person visits for prisoners at county jail facilities. The court also approved Central Health’s FY 2015-16 budget of $295.8 million and property tax rate of 11.7781 cents per $100 of valuation. Central Health is Travis County’s health care district.

On Oct. 6 the court unanimously approved the county tax rate of $0.4169 per $100 of taxable valuation for FY 2015-16. The new rate is nearly 4 cents lower than the FY 2014-15 tax rate of $0.4563 per $100 of taxable value, which will result in a decrease of about 79 cents on the average taxable homestead, said Jessica Rio, county executive for planning and budget.

MoPac toll service, new buses planned

AUSTIN– Included in Capital Metro’s $357.2 million fiscal year 2015-16 budget are big-ticket items such as MetroRail upgrades, replacing aging buses and adding Express bus service on the MoPac toll lanes.

The board of directors unanimously approved the FY 2015-16 budget and five-year plan Sept. 28.

By 2020, Capital Metro plans to spend about $404 million on capital improvement projects, agency Chief Financial Officer Leslie Browder said. About $156.8 million will be spent on vehicles, and $172 million will be spent on the commuter rail line, according to budget documents.

San Leanna budget plans approved

SAN LEANNA– The board of aldermen for the village of San Leanna approved a $378,077 general fund budget for fiscal year 2015-16 during its Sept. 17 meeting, an increase of $227,923.50 compared with FY 2014-15.

The only major change in the FY 2015-16 general fund budget that was not in the previous budget is a $269,000 allocation for road improvements at Circle Drive, City Administrator Kathleen Lessing said via email.

The village of San Leanna will be seeking bids for the Circle Drive improvement project in early 2016, Lessing said.

Council OKs Trails Master Plan changes Violet Crown Trail Phase 1 opened Aug. 15.[/caption]

Council OKs Trails Master Plan changes

SUNSET VALLEY– City Council on Oct. 13 unanimously approved an amendment to the city’s Trails Master Plan to prepare for the construction of Phase 2 of the Violet Crown Trail.

The council added wording to the Trails Master Plan to allow the use of stabilized soil aggregate, which is the material that will be used for the portion of the trail anticipated to go through Sunset Valley. City Administrator Clay Collins said the stabilized soil aggregate is a material similar to soil but has the strength of asphalt.

The portion of the Violet Crown Trail Phase 2 in Sunset Valley runs from the west end of Home Depot Boulevard through the Indian Grass Prairie Preserve to green space owned by the city of Austin, Collins said.