AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council voted to adopt the fiscal year 2022-23 budget during a meeting on Thursday night.
The $5 billion budget aims to halt an emerging crisis in staff recruitment and retention and sustain public services for the community.
The adopted budget incorporates proposals made by Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk and added investments for rental assistance, fire and EMS stations, police cadets and lifeguards for City pools.
“The budget adopted by Council today puts the City in a strong position to recruit and retain the people we need to sustain the high quality of services our residents have come to expect,” said Cronk. “It does this while reducing the City’s portion of the annual property tax bill for the typical homeowner and investing in public safety, disaster response, and actions to address climate change. We look forward to implementing Council’s priorities in the coming fiscal year.”
In addition to the previously proposed items, amendments included by council members also made it into the final budget. Those additions include:
- $7 million General Fund increase to raise the City’s minimum wage beyond the City Manager’s proposal of $18 per hour, to $20 per hour.
- $17.8 million in capital funding to complete construction of the Goodnight Ranch Fire/EMS station in southeast Austin.
- An additional $3 million in one-time funding, added to the $5 million proposed by the City Manager, to help prevent displacement and homelessness as rents rise.
- A further increase in the number of full-time lifeguards, from the four proposed by the City Manager to 13, to help address staff shortages and keep the City’s pools open and safe.
- $1.2 million to expand a life-saving program providing whole blood transfusions to patients before they reach the hospital.
- Option to run additional police academies customized for candidates with prior law enforcement experience.
- $350,000 to provide education and services focused on sexual and reproductive health and wellness, and contraception, following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade.
What does the approved budget mean for taxpayers? The approved property tax rate of 46.27 cents per $100 of taxable value is 3.5% above the projected "no-new-revenue operations and maintenance tax rate," which is the measure used by the state to determine compliance with its revenue cap.
The City tax bill for the average homeowner, defined as the owner of a home valued at $453,727, will be $1,679.52 per year or about $140 per month. The annual bill for typical senior or disabled homeowners will be about $1,104, which is down about $9 from last year, the City said.
The tax impact paired with rate and fee changes amounts to an increase for the typical taxpayer of 3.8%, equivalent to an additional $170 per year.
The budget was passed with a 10-1 vote, with District 6 Councilmember Mackenzie Kelly being the lone vote against the budget.
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