The Austin Chronicle

The Budget Calendar

August 6, 2004, News

At City Hall

Budget hearings will be held at 6pm Thursdays, during the regular City Council meetings, as follows:

Today, Aug. 5: Public safety – which consumes nearly two thirds of the city General Fund – goes under the microscope. Compared to last year's eruption of firefighter discontent, this one should be quiet – although the fire department's long list of new fees might attract notice. (The most controversial of these – a charge to clean up after car wrecks – has been dropped.)

Aug. 12: The council will consider community services – parks, libraries, social-service contracts, and what remains of public health after the Hospital District Shuffle. No major cuts are proposed, and again, compared to last year – when social-service providers stormed the council chambers – this should be a snooze.

Aug. 26: After a week's break, the infrastructure and growth management departments – in their newly streamlined, re-org'd form – should attract keen interest from both citizens and the council.

Sept. 2: All the enterprise funds get their turn at the end of the calendar – which will also be the required public hearing for the substantial increases in water rates and drainage fees in Futrell's proposed budget.

Sept. 13-15: The budget is scheduled for City Council approval on three consecutive days.

At the Courthouse:

The public hearings on the Travis Co. budget are set for Aug. 18 and Sept. 22 (both Wednesdays) at 6pm. The Commissioners Court will also take public input on Sept. 28, the day it actually adopts the FY 2005 budget.

Unlike the City Council, which defers the actual heavy lifting to City Manager Toby Futrell, the Commissioners Court has to produce the final budget itself, line by line. The commissioners have eight different departmental hearings scheduled between Aug. 11 and 23. The commissioners then do budget mark-up on Sept. 8-10.

As for elected officials' salaries, the commissioners are currently slated to consider the issue at their regular Tuesday meetings throughout August; the deadline for salaries to actually be set is Sept. 7.

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