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Despite a Rate Cut, Travis County Could Still See a Property Tax Increase Next Year

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Travis County residents could see a property taxes increase in the$901 million proposed budget for 2015. The increase, however, isn’t because of rising property values, but because of the demand for countywide services.

The budget calls to build out integral services for the ever-expanding county, but may lower the tax rate. County officials will debate and hear public comment on the budget before the final Sept. 23 vote.

The Travis County budget actually calls for lowering the tax rate by about three-and-a-half percent. But the county would still bring in more money, because the value of homes is going up. The median taxable value of a house is up by more than eight percent over last year.

So even though the county wants to lower the tax rate, the average homeowner would still be paying an extra $46 a year. Travis County budget planners say demand for services is going up because of the Austin-area's rapid population growth.

They are calling for more spending on social service programs, on infrastructure and on setting more money aside in case the state legislature passes big budget cuts when it reconvenes in January. You will have a chance to weigh in on this budget and tax rate with three public hearings in September ahead of the final vote by commissioners on Sept. 23.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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