This week John meets with Dani Slabaugh of Yard To Table …
Austin, a labrador-retriever mix, is up for adopt at Austin …
The University of Texas will graduate 4,200 students today. We …
The University of Texas is hosting its 130th spring …
As police in North Austin keep up the heat this weekend on …
Updated: Thursday, 30 Aug 2012, 6:34 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 30 Aug 2012, 11:09 AM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - By mid-September, Austin City Council members will adopt the city’s 2012-2013 budget, now proposed at $3.1 billion. At 64 percent, public safety – as usual – makes up the bulk of the $742.5 million going to “General Funds.”
On Thursday, Austinites had a chance to weigh in during a public hearing at City Hall. Property taxes will bear most of the burden at 40 percent, while utility fees and sales tax will make up the majority of the rest. The typical household will pay $217 more next year.
Regarding public safety, the budget certainly allows for plenty of additions but does not reflect some areas of concern. The Austin Police Department would receive more than $301 million, largely in an effort to counter population growth.
APD has proposed the addition of 22 patrol positions in 2013. The department also has plans to promote ten current positions to the detective rank in an effort to boost their investigative reach – primarily property-related crimes.
After years of lobbying, APD Chief Art Acevedo will finally see a new helicopter in the city. Spending around $1 million to purchase the aircraft, APD will share its use with the Austin Fire Department and the Austin/Travis County Emergency Service.
EMS has a proposed budget of $56 million - $11 million more than its current budget – but has been criticized as not nearly enough to keep up with city growth. It will add six new paramedics to a “demand unit,” which is a 12-hour-a-day ambulance.
The local EMS association has indicated the city is understaffed in this field by at least 50 paramedics and possibly needs at least one more demand unit near Reagan High School, where emergency calls are high.
AFD will use $5.1 million to train 36 new firefighters. This move would help the department reach its goal of having four people on every fire vehicle. But AFD has said more staff is needed.
The Austin Firefighters Association has said the budget does not reflect the city’s greatest need – a new Wildland Division, which would help fight and prevent wildfires. This could cost more than $4 million – a long shot this late in the budget process.
Opinions that are derogatory, attack other users or are offensive in nature may be removed. KXAN is not responsible for the content posted in this comment section. We reserve the right to remove any offensive or off-topic remark or thread. To mark a comment for review by a moderator, click "Report Abuse."