The Georgetown City Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2023 budget Sept. 13. The adopted FY2023 budget totals $722 million and decreases the City’s property tax rate by 2.7 cents.
This is the third year in a row the City has proposed reducing the property tax rate, maintaining the City’s rate as among the lowest of all cities in the Austin area with a population greater than 20,000. The council also increased the homestead exemption to the greater of $5,000 or 5 percent.
By lowering the rate to 37.4 cents per $100 of valuation and accounting for the increase in homestead exemption, the average property tax bill is expected to increase by $56. Without lowering the tax rate or increasing the homestead exemption, the average taxpayer would see an increase of $178 to their tax bill.
Following cost recovery analyses across multiple departments and a water and wastewater rate study, Georgetown residents and customers can expect several user fees and water and wastewater rates to increase as well.
“The adopted budget is going to help make sure City staff and programs can keep pace with Georgetown’s rapid growth and the increased demands on our infrastructure and resources that come with it,” Mayor Josh Schroeder said. “In the next year, residents are going to see their dollars hard at work, with continued investments in transportation and water infrastructure, customer service, and public safety, so we can maintain the high level of service our residents expect.”
The adopted budget did not change from the proposed budget, which is provided online at finance.georgetown.org. The adopted budget book will be available later this year.
Major themes of the adopted budget are maintaining service levels in the face of record-setting growth and responding to nationwide economic pressure while executing studies and projects initiated this year, addressing staff workload pressures, improving risk management practices, and responding to a tight labor market through retention and attraction efforts. Adequately funding those priorities—particularly building the infrastructure needed to keep pace with growth, responding to development pressures, and retaining and recruiting high-caliber employees—contributed to the proposed budget being $239.5 million more than the current fiscal year’s original adopted budget of $483 million.
Highlights of the adopted budget include:
- 79.5 positions, the majority of which are in the water, public safety, and engineering departments
- Responding to pressures from development and record-setting growth: 129 percent increase in single-family building permits from 2019 to 2022; consistently more than 100 active public infrastructure construction sites in the city; 55 percent growth in population served by Water Utility since 2016
- Cost of service increases due to supply chain challenges and inflation. Several City expenses saw inflation increase by 20 percent.
- Employee recruitment and retention: The City’s turnover rate is expected to be 17 percent by the end of the year – higher than usual, but lower than nationwide trends. The budget includes increasing average merit pay to 5 percent, conducting additional market reviews for City positions, adding holidays, and authorizing overhiring in certain departments.
- Risk management, including adding staffing in finance, electric, water, and emergency management and contracting support for legal, real estate, and inspections
- A strong projected electric fund balance of $49.4 million and investments in staffing, technology, and infrastructure to maintain system reliability.
- Long-range water supply planning, staffing, and resiliency programs to ensure water demands in the City’s water service area meet current and future growth.
- Significant investment in transportation, including additional staffing, intersection and sidewalk improvements, and additional resources to ensure 2021 mobility bond projects are started within the next three years.
For more information, visit finance.georgetown.org.