A 2.2 cent property tax increase and additional raises to utility rates and city fees means the median Austin homeowner will paying an additional $18 each month in city fees and taxes, as laid out in City Manager Marc Ott’s proposed city budget for Fiscal Year 2013.
The 2.2 cent property tax increase is higher than the 1.8 cent increase the city originally forecast in April, when it began work on the city budget. According to the City Budget Officer, Ed Van Eenoo, the reason for the boost is a half-billion dollar difference between the Travis County Tax Assessor’s April estimate of the tax rolls, and the certified tax roll delivered in July.
The city's current tax rate is 48.11 cents for every $100 of property value . But without the increase the city budget would see a $17.8 million shortfall as currently written.
The Austin budget calls for three percent raises for all city staffers, plus increases to the city's share of police, fire and civilian employee retirement contributions.
Public safety remains the biggest portion of the $742.5 million General Fund, which pays for public services like police, fire, EMS, libraries and parks. APD netted a 5.4 percent increase to its budget, which includes plans to hire 22 new officers to maintain the city’s one-office- per-1,000-residents policy.
Public comment and council discussion is scheduled throughout the month of August, before council begins the budget adoption process starting September 10.