We're the strongest regional economy among major urban areas across the
United States," said Jon Hockenyos, president of Texas Perspectives,
an economic analyst and consulting firm.
...That promising forecast means good things for the budget. The City
Manager's Office presented a budget forecast to the Council as well.
"We're in a position this year, we believe, to craft a budget recommendation
that will include a property tax rate reduction," said City Manager Marc Ott.
Ott and staff are forecasting a budget for next fiscal year of $840.6
million. It adds 59 police officers, makes 36 firefighter positions, previously
funded through a grant, permanent and includes a one percent raise for all first
responders. Other city employees would get a 3.5 percent raise in addition to a
$750 lump sum increase instituted last budget session. It's the highest wage
increase in the last five years.
...It's not all good news. The forecasted property tax decrease is
seven-tenths of a cent. With property appraisals going up, the median home
owner's tax bill would still increase by about $28 a year.
Austin Water is also proposing a significant rate increase. The utility is
facing a budget shortfall, primarily because Austinites are conserving water due
to the drought. The typical customer would pay an additional $4.84 each
...Other utilities and fees are also set to increase next fiscal year.
Combined with the forecasted tax rate, the typical home owner would pay $13.38 more each month.
*This statement may be misleading. Please see: