Leander’s proposed budget would increase taxes next year for the typical homeowner by $28, add 26 new positions, build a new senior activity center and fire station, develop a new park and include money for infrastructure for a proposed town center.
Although the proposed property tax rate is 2.6 cents lower than this year, the typical homeowner would see a $28 increase in taxes because of rising property values.
“A major priority this year is the city workforce,” said City Manager Kent Cagle. “We’re strengthening retention with improved merit-based pay and expanding our core public safety and development services to meet the demands of unprecedented growth.”
Leander’s population is estimated at 59,838.
“Since 2015, Leander has sustained an annual growth rate of 10 percent or more, outpacing the annual growth rate of some of the fastest-growing cities in the nation,” according to a city news release.
The city will add more than $3.1 million in tax revenue from new property this year.
Proposed 4 percent average merit salary raises for city employees total $372,981. A 7 percent to 8 percent pay raise for police and firefighters and a 3 percent to 4.5 percent pay raise for public safety managers totals $600,000 in the new budget.
The $178.5 million proposed total budget also includes $1.6 million for 23 positions paid partly by property taxes and almost $271,000 for three new utility positions paid for with revenue from the utility fund.
The new posts are 12 firefighters, two police officers, two police detectives, three parks maintenance workers, one senior activity center supervisor, one planning director, one engineer, one human resources trainer and one field technician, and two maintenance crew positions in the utility department.
The proposed budget also includes $71.6 million in 2016 voter-approved bond projects. The projects include building a senior activity center, designing a recreation center, developing Lakewood Park and widening Raider Way and Woodview Drive.
They also include designing the extension of San Gabriel Parkway from County Road 270 to Ronald Reagan Boulevard and constructing East Street from FM 2243 to Hero Way.
The proposed budget also has $22 million in certificates of obligation to pay for two projects, including the construction of fire station #5 and equipment for it.
The $22 million also includes $15 million in infrastructure improvements for a proposed town center with shopping, dining, offices and housing called the Northline Project to be developed by Tynberg LLC on 115 acres at San Gabriel Parkway and U.S. 183A North.
A public hearing on the budget and final approval of the budget will be at the City Council meeting Sept. 6 at Pay Bryson Municipal Hall, 201 N. Brushy St. The council will approve the final tax rate on Sept. 20.
By the numbers
Leander’s proposed budget: $178.5 million, up 32.6 percent from last year’s proposed budget of $134.6 million. The city says that is due to the addition of a fire station, new employees, pay raises and projects paid for by 2016 voter-approved bonds.
Proposed tax rate: 55.1 cents per $100 valuation. That a 2.6 cent decrease from this year. The tax rate required to raise the same amount of money as it did for the previous year on existing property is 56.6 cents.
Bottom line: The city portion of the tax bill would be $1,500 for the owner of an average home worth $271,774. That is an increase of $28 over last year’s tax bill for the average owner with a house worth $254,809.