There’s still time to make a difference in your local community! This is your friendly reminder that the city’s annual budget process is not over yet… which means there is still time to make your voice be heard.
Wait. What’s the city’s budget again?
Every year in the late summer, Austin City Council makes some big decisions. They decide how much our property tax bills will rise or fall. They decide how much public money will be spent on building affordable housing in this city. They decide if our parks will have enough funding to provide us with fun, recreational opportunities for years to come.
Simply put, a budget is how a city spends all of our money… which means that this is a conversation you simply don’t want to miss out on.
So what is in the city’s initial budget proposal?
Earlier in August, Austin’s new city manager, Spencer Cronk, delivered his proposal for the 2018-2019 budget. You can read all about it in our previous blog post here.
But in the meantime, here’s the gist . The city manger’s proposal included a 4.9 percent property tax increase . For the average Austinite (with a home worth $332,366) this amounts to an addition $78.04 in property taxes and fees this upcoming year. Although the average Austinite will be paying more in property taxes this year, it’s a smaller increase than we’ve seen in recent years. For example, last year, the average Austinite’s property tax bill increased by $151.
What are people saying about it?
On the environmental front, the Austin Parks Foundation has applauded the proposed budget for including more money for parks than has been allotted in recent years. We sat down with John Rooney from the Austin Parks Foundation earlier this week to learn a little more. You can watch the video below.
Together with the Texas Campaign for the Environment, the Austin Parks Foundation has also been pushing for the funds needed to bring recycling services to all of our city’s parks. They’re asking for $140,000 in funding and an extra $0.14 a month to be added to the city’s Clean Community Fee (which funds litter abatement, street cleaning, and dead animal pickup) in order to do so. You can learn more about that initiative here and you can learn how to get more involved with the Austin Parks Foundation here.
How can you get involved?
The city’s final public budget hearing is on Thursday, August 30th at 4pm. If you’re available, you can sign up to speak at that hearing and share any of your opinions/ideas about the city’s budget.
If you’re not able to make it physically into City Hall, you’re always able to email your City Council person. You can do that here.
PS – One last quick note about the city’s budget. The taxes you pay to the City of Austin only make up about 20 percent of your total property tax bill. More than 55 percent goes to the school district, about 15 percent goes to the county, 5 percent goes to the community college system, and 4.4 percent goes to Central Health.