Council officially OKs 9 pct. maximum levy increase; Move would mean $30 to $40 a year for an average home’s taxes in ’17

Published 10:09 am Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Austin City Council officially set its 2017 tax levy at a 9 percent maximum increase during its Monday meeting.

The council also scheduled its annual truth in taxation meeting to be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 6. A 9 percent levy increase could mean an additional $30 to $40 a year for an average home’s taxes.

The council can still lower its 2017 levy, but it cannot increase it over the maximum 9 percent.

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After discussing the budget in August, the council revisited the issue and discussed a request from Vision 2020 to increase its appropriation from $22,000 to $30,000, which the council voted down largely because members felt its request for marking and tourism promotion is already being done by various groups in town.

Employee costs are a driving factor in setting the 2017 budget. Director of Administrative Services Tom Dankert the goal was to keep city services the same in 2017 as in ’16. That made for the 9 percent increase, which will increase the levy by $441,000 to about $5.3 million.

Much of 2017’s increase — about 7 percent, according to Dankert — is coming from a roughly 3 percent raise for staff.

Dankert noted the city won’t feel the full 9 percent tax increase. Traditionally, new construction and growth accounts for 2 to 3 percent of the annual tax levy increase, so Dankert estimated the net effect of the 9 percent increase would be closer to a 6 or 7 percent.