Mayor Says City Council Must Be 'Judicious' With Property Tax Hikes, But Investments Are Needed

Jul 8, 2018

The Austin City Council will have the chance next month to tweak the specifics of a $925 million bond package it approved last month for the Nov. 6 ballot. But the vote was not unanimous, as some council members expressed concern about the accompanying property tax hike.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said he is aware of worries about ever-increasing property taxes for Austin homeowners.

"I understand not wanting to have higher taxes," he said. "I don't want to have higher taxes."

But he said Austin needs the investment in affordable housing and transportation that the bond would bring. Those two areas are consistently cited by the community as desperately needing improvement, he said.

"If we're going to preserve what it is that is special about the spirit and soul of this city, we have to bring along the whole community," Adler said. "We have to have housing that is affordable to a wider segment of our population."

Adler pointed out that the projected property tax increase of about $5 a month is real, but he said school taxes account for a much bigger – and more painful – hike.

"We need to invest in our community with the bond. We also need to do something about property taxes," he said. "But the property taxes issue is not the bond. It's what the state's doing to us."

KUT spoke with the mayor last week about property taxes and the bond. Listen to the conversation: