AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin city leaders finalized a new city budget last night of $3.5 billion for next year.
The new budget will put money back into the pockets of some Austinites. This includes a lower property tax rate; saving the average homeowner $14 a year. All city employees will receive a three percent pay raise; except for sworn police, EMS, and fire personnel. A new minimum wage for city employees will be at least $13.03 per hour. The Austin Police Department will be given money to hire 50 more police officers and civilian staff. Also approved for APD was $3 million to start implementing body cameras on police. The budget goes into effect Oct. 1.
The publisher of the Austin Monitor, Mike Kanin, joined us in the studio to put the budget into perspective.
At a local level, Kanin said, it is hard to save taxpayers money.
Kanin explained that affordability is such a huge concept city leaders tried to delve into what they could do that would most directly impact the community. This is what led to their decision to focus on the value of your property taxes in an attempt to deliver on promises made to voters.
In the end, Kanin said, they really only saved you two tacos worth of your pay check. However, Kanin explained, because fees are going up with Austin Water Utility its going to cost you a taco.