Austin adopts budget, increases property taxes
Austin homeowners will pay more in property taxes next year. Wednesday night council adopted the City of Austin Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Budget and they're spending more money than they did last year.
After three days of intense budget discussions, city council voted around 9 p.m. They balanced the budget by taking about $92,000 out of reserve funds. Council members Ellen Troxclair, Jimmy Flannigan and Ora Houston voted against the adopted budget.
The average tax payer will see an 8 percent property tax increase. Therefore, a home worth about $305,000 will cost the owner $104 per month in taxes to the City of Austin.
The city's entire budget is about $4 billion. Austin City Council has about $1 billion to spend at their discretion. Wednesday they picked through every dollar spent through various programs trying to trim what they could.
The city will increase spending by about $60 million next year. Council Member Ellen Troxclair said that money shouldn't come from tax payers but instead from revenue the city is bringing in as it continues to grow. She fought to have $1 million reserved as property tax relief for residents but her efforts failed.
"I think we're on an unsustainable path and the cost of living crisis is ultimately going to be the downfall of our community if we can't find a way to get it under control. We will go to the way of San Francisco and it won't be a place that regular people can afford to live," Troxclair said. Troxclair added that if the city continues increasing taxes at the current rate, homeowners will see their property taxes double every nine years.
The council did approve $200,000 to provide property tax relief for Austin senior citizens.
Aside from property tax increases -- residents can also expect to see some key utility increases.
Fees and fines were still being discussed as of 9:30 p.m. but at that point, the average Austin Energy customer was on track to see their bill increase $1.95 per month. Water rates and trash fees were expected to stay the same. A "clean community fee" to fund code inspections and short-term rentals was expected to increase by 90 cents.