Proposed Austin budget includes $65M for homelessness response, $79M for affordable housing

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk presented a proposed budget of $4.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2021-22 to council members Friday afternoon in east Austin.

Cronk said Austin is in good shape compared to other big cities in the country.

According to a city press release, the proposed budget aims to invest in infrastructure while only increasing tax and fees a small bit. It includes a combined tax and fee increase of 0.85%, which is equal to just over $3 per month — the smallest increase in the past five years, the city said. This also includes no changes to Austin Energy and Austin Water rates.

Cronk said they strived to keep the increase below 1% because of the toll the pandemic took on Austinites financially.

As for property tax rate, Cronk proposed a 3.5% increase. The last time a lower increase was approved was Fiscal Year 2004-05, according to the city.

Total expenditures come out to $4.5 billion, the city said, which includes $1.2 billion for the general fund. The Capital Budget includes $1.3 billion for planned spending.

Here are a few highlights of the proposed budget, which covers funding for affordable housing, homelessness response and reimagining public safety:

  • $79 million in voter-approved planned spending to reach key affordable housing goals.
  • $65.2 million to continue funding the City’s response to homelessness, with specific funding going toward preventing homelessness, crisis response, housing stabilization and public space management.
  • $29.1 million to maintain and advance progress on Reimagining Public Safety.
  • $27.7 million to build new sidewalks and improve existing sidewalks citywide.
  • $8.5 million in planned capital spending on the City’s Safe Routes to School program.
  • $6.2 million to fund the 144th class and future classes of the reimagined Austin Police Department Training Academy.

The more than $65 million for homelessness response will be supplemented by $106.7 million in multi-year federal funds committed by Austin City Council.

Fiscal Year 2021-22 begins on Oct. 1 of this year. You can sound off on the budget by taking the City of Austin’s survey online.

The community will also get the opportunity to give feedback on July 22 and 29, the city said, before Austin City Council is scheduled to adopt a final version of the budget on Aug. 11.

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