AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, Austin city leaders got a first look at the proposed city budget for next year and it could mean more money coming out of your pocket.
Under the proposed budget, Mayor Steve Adler says the owner of a $230,000 home will pay around $40 more a year in property taxes. Mayor Adler says, “I think the money we all pay in property taxes is a contribution to our community and provides for services.”
Mayor Adler blames the tax hike on Austin’s population growth. But some homeowners will experience less of an increase thanks to a new 6 percent homestead exemption the city council passed in June.
The mayor adds, “Including the homestead exemption is resulting in a property tax increase being half of what it would have been otherwise.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Kathie Tovo voted against a homestead exemption in the hopes of avoiding an increase in property taxes.
“I’d like to see a lower tax rate and will do everything I can to work with my colleagues to see if we can find a way to bring that down,” says Tovo.
The new budget calls for creating 350 new jobs. Last year’s budget only allotted for 150 new positions.
Under this proposal, Austin police would receive the largest number of new employees with 85 new officers. 19 new positions would also be created within Austin’s 911 call center. The library is asking for 48 employees to work at the new center library under construction downtown. Other departments seeking more employees include the airport and convention center.
During the budget work session, Austin Energy proposed rates for fiscal year 2016 that would decrease by $2.22 a month a 1,000 kilowatt-hour (kWh) residential bill. The monthly bill would decrease from $107.90 to $105.68 if adopted by the City Council in the final budget in September.
The Austin City Council has until the end of September to make any spending changes to the proposed budget. There will be at least two public hearings in September. The city’s next fiscal year begins Oct. 1.