Austin City Council OKs $4.1 Billion Budget And Lowers Tax Rate, But You'll Likely Pay More Taxes

Sep 11, 2018

The Austin City Council approved a $4.1 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, with more money going toward homelessness outreach and an increase in the minimum wage for city employees.

Council members on Tuesday voted to lower the rate at which Austin taxes homeowners, dropping it from 44.48 cents to 44.03 cents per $100. But because property taxes are calculated on the value of a home and that number continues to rise for most people, the owner of a median-priced home will see a property tax increase of roughly $67.

The vote was 10-1, with Council Member Ellen Troxclair voting against it.

The tax rate is higher than the rate City Manager Spencer Cronk proposed last month. Council members raised the rate in order to pull in an additional $2 million to fund services.

Earlier in the day, council members debating putting this additional money into reserves. Last year, state lawmakers attempted to pass a law capping the percentage by which cities can increase their tax revenue year over year. Austin city staff and council members have discussed raising taxes to the maximum allowed to save up money should a similar law pass in the future.

That idea was eventually scrapped. Council voted to spend the money instead on programs such as parent support specialists in schools and workforce development. The minimum wage for city employees will increase to $15 an hour from $13.84.