Tax decrease in Austin still means an increase in your bill

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thursday the public has an opportunity to let Austin city council know what they think about taxes and city fees going up. While the proposed budget calls for a tax decrease it would still mean an increase in resident’s bills. That’s a result of the increase in home appraisals. Because the value of most homes went up, even with the tax rate being proposed to decrease by 2.2 cents per $100 of assessed value the tax bill would increase.

Based on the average home being valued at $202,254, the proposed monthly rate increases are:

Austin Energy = $2.72

Austin Water = $2.62

Austin Resource Recovery = $1.85

Clean Community Fee = $0.75

Transportation User Fee = $0.45

Drainage User Fee = $0.60

Property Tax Bill = $3.49
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TOTAL = $12.48/month

That’s up 4 percent from last year.

In January Austin City Manager Marc Ott asked the budget office to keep the tax rate as low as possible for the upcoming fiscal year, stating he wanted affordability to be the primary goal. As a result city departments were not allowed to submit requests for additional services. For example, the Austin Police Department asked for 21 new 911 call takers but they were able to repurpose resources to budget for it without asking for an increase from tax payers. Also downtown development has helped keep the tax base low.

“There are a lot of cranes in the sky right now and that results in new tax dollars coming into the city, tax base growing, increased retail sales, which all increases our general fund revenues and helps us deliver the services that the community expects but at a lower tax rate,” said Ed Van Eenoo, Deputy CFO City of Austin

Austin Resource Recovery said their fuel and maintenance costs are going up as more people move to the city forcing their department to add more people and trucks into the mix. Their proposed increase of $1.85 is for the smaller trash cans like the 24, 32, or 64 gallon. The largest increase is $6.65 for the 94 gallon can. The goal with the discrepancy is to encourage more recycling and less waste.

“That’s exactly our point to encourage people to downsize,” said Bob Gedert, Director of Austin Resource Recovery. “Our largest increase are in the 96 gallon cart, if you’re in the 64 gallon cart downsizing you save six to seven dollars a month, if you downsize even further you save even more money so we are trying to encourage smaller and smaller trash carts.”

A public hearing will be held Thursday afternoon inside council chambers which has been moved to the Travis County Commissioners Court while renovations take place at city hall. Council votes on the final budget September 8th.

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