City asks for residents’ feedback about next year’s budget
The City of Georgetown is asking the public to share comments on the proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget through an online comment box, which will be up through Sept. 5. Members of the public also can attend any of the public hearings through the budget adoption process. Public comments and feedback will be provided to City Council for its Sept. 14 meeting, during which the council is scheduled to hold public hearings and first readings of both the tax rate and the budget.
The proposed budget totals $483 million and decreases the City’s property tax rate by 1.7 cents (from 41.8 cents per $100 valuation to 40.1 cents). This is the second year in a row the City has proposed reducing the property tax rate, maintaining the City’s rate as the lowest of all cities in the Austin area with a population greater than 20,000. Council also recently voted to increase the homestead exemption to the greater of $5,000 or 3 percent, contributing to $370,000 in additional taxpayer relief. However, because property values in Georgetown increased 15.4 percent, the average homeowner in Georgetown is expected to pay $56 more in property taxes in the upcoming year.
“We anticipated and budgeted for an economic slowdown last year, but we actually saw considerable acceleration,” City Manager David Morgan said. “Next year’s preliminary budget continues our usual practices of budgeting conservatively and taking steps to reduce the burden on taxpayers while investing in the additional resources needed to keep up with our sustained, exponential growth. This preliminary budget is just the first step in the budget process. I hope residents will check out our website to learn more and share their feedback, so we can fund programs and services that meet their needs and priorities.”
The City of Georgetown budget affects every resident in the city. How the City allocates taxpayer dollars and monthly costs as utility customers determines the level of service customers get in return for City functions, such as providing electricity, drinking water, resources to respond to emergencies, well-maintained streets, a world-class library, and accessible trails.
City staff used the results of recent public feedback opportunities, including the 2020 resident survey and council goals, to develop a preliminary version of next year’s budget, which spans Oct. 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2022. Staff presented the preliminary budget to City Council on July 26, and the council continued the discussion during its July 27 workshop. The workshops gave the council a chance to weigh options and provide direction so staff could come back Aug. 10 with a proposed budget that reflects their feedback as well.
Major themes of the proposed budget are investing in transportation and utility infrastructure, public safety, and customer services, as well as providing the staffing, equipment, and software needed for record-setting growth and development. Adequately funding those priorities—particularly transportation and water capital improvement projects ($90 million), public safety investments, and staffing and resources needed to maintain service levels during Georgetown’s sustained period of high growth—contributed to the preliminary budget being $87 million (or 18 percent) more than the current fiscal year’s budget of $396 million.
For more information about the annual budget process and details and documents about the preliminary FY2022 budget, visit finance.georgetown.org.
Budget adoption timeline
July 26 & 27: Council budget workshops
Aug. 10: First presentation of the full budget; City Council sets maximum tax rate and public hearing dates
Sept. 5: Comments on draft budget close (see form online)
Sept. 14: Public hearings and first reading of both the tax rate and the budget
Sept. 28: Second reading and final adoption of the tax rate and budget