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City Budget Could See More Money From Austin Energy, Higher Tax Rate

Photo by Liang Shi/KUT News

Austin City Council got some surprises at a budget meeting today, both pleasant ones for the city’s fiscal outlook.

City budget officers told the Council it underestimated how high the city’s property tax rate could be under the rollback rate. That means the city will be able to raise taxes higher then once believed without having to get voter approval.

If City Council chooses to raise property taxes to the new rollback rate, it would generate an additional $1.6 million in revenue.

“We estimate that the owner of a median-valued home, if council were to go to the maximum tax rate, could expect to see an increased tax bill of about $3.11 per month," said budget officer Ed Van Eenoo. The median home value in Austin is about $185,000.

The City Council also heard from Austin Energy today.

All this hot weather means higher electricity bills and better than expected revenue for the city-owned utility. Austin Energy will contribute about $2 million more to the city’s general fund than it anticipated.

The Council will consider changes to a plan to expand parking meter hours downtown on Thursday. Those changes, including a smaller area with late-night metering, will mean less revenue than was expected.  

"I think what's likely to happen is some of the revenue declines we expect to see in the parking enforcement area will be offset by the additional revenue we're now going to see through the energy utility," said Van Eenoo

City Council will meet for another budget work session next week.

Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.
Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.