The average homeowner in the city of Hutto could pay about $81 more in property taxes this year.
The increase reflects rising property values across Williamson County. The Hutto City Council is proposing to adopt the same tax rate as last year — 51.5 cents per $100 valuation — and would need to adopt a lower rate to keep taxes from increasing.
Under the proposed tax rate, the owner of the average home in Hutto, valued at $216,997, will pay $1,117 — or 7.8 percent —more than last year.
The city has a proposed a $44.7 million budget that includes road improvements, police facility improvements and three new patrol cars, as well as 12 new positions and employee raises. It is a 24 percent drop from last year’s proposed budget.
“The 2018-19 budget continues to follow Hutto’s conservative financial approach, while balancing the focus on economic development, an aging infrastructure and the desire to grow and expand programs and services,” City Manager Odis Jones said.
“The theme for the year’s budget is ‘grow’ as it is a carefully crafted budget to enable a strategic and thoughtful response to the growing needs of the Hutto community,” Jones said.
The city, with a population of more than 30,000, has added more than 2,150 homes within the past six years and expects to add more than 400 homes in 2018, which will bring approximately 1,200 new residents who need services, Jones said.
New property in Hutto this year will add $309,734 in tax revenue, officials said.
The city is proposing $564,379 to pay for 12 new employees. Those employees are two police officers, a warrant officer, a building inspector, two recreation programmers, a police administrative assistant, a criminal investigations sergeant, a janitor, a building maintenance supervisor and two streets and drainage technicians.
The proposed budget includes a 3 percent merit/market increase raise for employees totaling $272,132. Hutto police will receive a total of $69,899 in raises based upon each year of service.
There is also $3.8 million in capital improvement projects in the proposed budget for public infrastructure upgrades, including roads, drainage and utilities. Those projects include the construction of the Limmer Loop sidewalk that will give residents and children a safer way to get to school and the extension of County Road 119 from Limmer Loop to Chandler Road.
The capital improvement projects also include converting City Hall to make it the headquarters for the Hutto Police Department and road improvements at U.S. 79 and Co-Op Drive as part of the Co-Op project.
The new City Hall will be in the Co-Op development on U.S. 79, which is the city’s planned mixed-use entertainment district that it is developing on 25 acres of land along with its private partner, MA Partners.
A public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 401 W. Front St. The City Council will approve the budget Sept. 20.
By the numbers:
Hutto’s proposed budget: $44.7 million, down 24 percent from last year’s proposed budget of $59 million. Operating expenses have decreased in part due to efficiency gains because the city bought the Heart of Texas water contract and operates the water system, the city said.
Proposed tax rate: $51.5 cents per $100 valuation. That’s the same as last year. The tax rate required to raise the same amount of money as it did for the previous year on existing property is 47.6 cents per $100 valuation.
Bottom line: The city portion of the tax bill would be $1,117 for the owner of average home worth $216,997. That, with rising property values, could be an increase of $81 over last year’s tax bill for the average owner with a house worth $201,270 last year.