AUSTIN (KXAN) — City staffing is among the priorities for Austin’s city budget next year, according to a proposal released Friday.

Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk presented the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23 to council members at the Montopolis Recreation and Community Center in east Austin at 10 a.m. A release highlighted the budget “aims to head off an emerging crisis in staff recruitment and retention to ensure City government can continue to provide high quality services, operations, and essential programs for the Austin community.”

The city has an average vacancy rate of 17%, according to a Financial Services Department report, which translates to almost 1,900 non-sworn vacancies in nine months.

The budget proposes a 4% pay increase for civilian staff (not including police) and would bump the hourly minimum wage to $18 from $15. The city council voted June 16 to raise the minimum wage for city employees to $22 an hour, directing Cronk to develop a timeline to get there. The city noted in a release Friday it is still working toward that long-term goal.

The city also outlined its budget for law enforcement and how its budget will affect taxpayers. People can read its full plan online.

Last year, the city council adopted a $4.5 billion budget and a 4.7% tax revenue increase for Fiscal Year 2021-22. The Austin Police Department received a record high of $442 million, which included funding for two cadet classes. The city also allotted $79 million for affordable housing and $65 million for homelessness response last year.

Austin budget timeline

The final adoption of the budget and tax rate is scheduled to begin on Aug. 17, but council members and the community will get to provide feedback and changes to the proposed budget in a series of meetings.

The first input meeting for the community is set for later this month on July 27. The city council will start work on the budget in August. Here’s the full budget schedule:

  • July 15: City Manager’s Proposed Budget Presentation to Council
  • July 27: First Community Budget Input Meeting
  • Aug. 2: Second Community Budget Input Meeting
  • Aug. 9: Council Budget Work Session
  • Aug. 11: Council Budget Work Session
  • Aug. 17: Budget and Tax Rate Adoption by Council

FY 2022-23 starts on Oct. 1, which is when the new budget will go into effect.

Giving feedback

In addition to the communitywide meetings, some council members will be hosting separate town halls this month and next month to discuss the budget with their constituents. Some are in person, and others are virtual. The first one will be for District 2 on July 21. You can find a full budget town hall list online.

To help develop the proposed budget, a public survey was given to community members in May and June, which asked about their budget priorities. Results from the survey will be provided to city leaders so they can make informed decisions on how to tailor the budget. The same results will be released to the public at the end of July.

If you have questions or want to provide feedback, you can email BudgetQA@AustinTexas.gov.