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City Council Takes First Look at Proposed Budget

Courses on budgeting and responsible credit use is getting underway.
Photo by KUT News
Courses on budgeting and responsible credit use is getting underway.

The City of Austin today presented its proposed budget for FY 2015-16 to the new 10-1 City Council, which will work on finalizing the proposal before the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.  [View the proposed budget in full here.]

The proposal calls for spending a total of $3.5 billion, a $39-million increase from last year. The increase in property tax revenue for the city would total about $36 million.

The property tax rate for $100 valuation for property owners would go up to $48.14 from $48.09 — a typical Austin homeowner would see roughly a $40 increase in their tax bill if they have a homestead exemption on their property. Austin Water customers could pay about $5 more a month if water use stays roughly the same as it did last year. Energy bills would go down slightly, by about $2 a month.

About $906 million of the $3.5 billion would go to the city's general fund, which goes toward parks, planning, public health and other city services.

The budget proposes salary raises and about 374 new hires for the city, in departments including transportation, public safety, EMS, police, code, development services and library services.

This will be the first time the geographically representative 10-1 council takes on the city budget.

"It’s important that everyone here be an advocate for their districts because that’s who elected them and sent them here. It’s also important that everyone be an advocate for the city, because at the end of the day, we will all rise together or we will fall together," Mayor Steve Adler said.

He added that he’s hoping the bottom line is palatable for everyone.

"At the end of the day, what I personally am going to be looking for and what I’m going to be asking for is some statement or understanding of what a typical household in Austin was paying and what a typical household in Austin will pay after this budget is done."

Council will begin reviewing and adjusting the proposed budget in order to finalize by Oct. 1.