Austin taxpayers may pay more next year

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — City of Austin taxpayers might soon be paying the city 8% more than last year in taxes.

A 3.5% limit imposed on the city by state lawmakers is set to take effect next year, but before that, city leaders could build up their reserves to pay for one-time items.

Austin City Councilwoman Leslie Pool wrote in the online council forum that she supports raising tax rates 8% during the next budget, which is the highest it can go without voters having the chance to weigh in directly.

Pool says the increase will help “prepare” for the revenue limit next year.

In an interview with KXAN, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said he supports looking into the idea.

“It’s something that we’re going to have to consider if we’re meeting our fiduciary responsibility to the city, ” he said.

In the final days of July, City Manager Spencer Cronk will present a city budget to council and they’ll finalize it in September.

Adler says the legislature gave cities and counties this “grace period” for a reason, saying:

“That one-year opportunity to perhaps increase their reserves, so that we have the cushion to be able to transition into the new budgets.”

But as for a raise for local government leaders, similar to the idea that the Travis County Commissioners court is thinking about?

Mayor Adler says likely not.

“I don’t expect to see the City Council moving to increase the council salaries,” said Adler. “I haven’t heard anyone suggest that.”

His priorities are building up reserves and paying for one-time items to deal with emergencies — like the state of homelessness in the city.

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