AUSTIN (KXAN) - One day after the City Council voted 7-0 to keep the property tax unchanged in the upcoming budget year, members voted to trim that rate when they finally approved the budget.
By two 100ths of a penny.
But when discussions on the 2013-14 budget began, the council was considering a 5.7 percent boost in the tax rate.
Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell credits the tax rate decrease to council agreeing to spend where needed and cut back in several areas, too.
"We simply can't meet every need. We have to prioritize because tax payers have a need too, and their need is to reduce the tax burden," Leffingwell said.
The decision is the first time since 2009 the property tax rate has gone down and not up.
"Every year that I can recall we've actually had an increase in the tax rate, so that makes me very proud that we've not only held the line, but we're actually going to go two hundredths of a penny below the line, and have a tax rate reduction," said Leffingwell.
The approved budget includes funding for:
- An additional 47 police officers, two additional fire lieutenants to support the Austin Fire Department’s Wildfire Mitigation Division, and one additional Community Health Paramedic in the Emergency Medical Services department.
- 26 full-time inspectors, plan reviewers, and other professional and development-related support staff across three departments to assist in planning, permitting and inspection efforts.
- 61 new full-time positions for the Parks and Recreation Department: 20 to assist in operating and maintaining the five City-owned cemetery sites, five grounds and maintenance positions for new area parks, and one program coordinator position at a recreation center facility. Additionally, the Council added 35 positions for general park enhancements, forestry, pool maintenance, and trail improvements.
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