BREAKING: Council Adopts 2013-14 Budget
City Council holds line on tax rate, juggles many line items
By Michael King,
2:07PM, Tue. Sep. 10, 2013
The headline number will be "50.27" – the property tax rate just adopted by the Austin City Council – a whopping .02 cents below the current or "nominal" rate. Council also managed to increase parks funding over time, and even tweaked the proposed Austin Police Department increase just a bit.
Amid thanks and congratulations to city staff (and even a little self-congratulation), after two days of hard wrestling, City Council managed to adopt the new budget, add some late-breaking services, and hold the official line on property taxes. Early Monday, Council members had concurred with Mayor Lee Leffingwell's determination to keep the property tax rate at 50.29 cents per $100 of assessed valuation – the current rate, which would still raise more funds through rising Austin property values. Members then spent the rest of that day and several hours Tuesday trying to strike a balance of cuts and increases that would meet that line (down from the original staff proposal that would have set the rate at 51.14).
Somewhat to their own surprise, after many motions and numerous amendments – and many 5-1 or 5-2 votes on new expenditures objected to either by the mayor or CM Bill Spelman – Council not only managed to hold that tax line, but slightly reduce it. The bottom line was preceded by plenty of yoga-style postures and pretzel logic.
For more on the budget adoption, see the Chronicle News section Thursday.