The city of Austin’s budget office dropped the first hints Thursday that property taxes will go up and city services could be scaled back in the coming year.
Austin will need to add $29.1 million to its operating budget just to keep in place the services it now provides, according to a budget forecast given to the City Council. That’s barely possible even if property taxes are raised as high as state law allows without a special election, according to the city’s budget office.
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Despite rosy economy projections, even a hefty property-tax increase will only allow Austin to keep current services in place, and not cover across-the-board employee raises or staffing and equipment requests from city departments, city budget officers say.
If the property-tax rate stays the same, at 50.29 cents per $100 of value, Austin would collect $19 million more in taxes, largely because of rising values. The budget office says the city will need $29.1 million just to keep current services in place, and another $42.7 million to give 3 percent raises.
The maximum increase allowable without a special election would net the city an additional $30.3 million — and the owner of a median-value home, listed as $189,027 in presentation, would see the annual bill rise $78, to $974.76.
When fees are added in, the typical Austin home would pay $3,761.88, up $162.96.