The City of Georgetown is asking the public to share comments on the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget through an online comment box, which will be up through Aug. 20. 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 Aug. 22 meeting, during which the council is scheduled to hold public hearings and first readings of both the tax rate and the budget.
Residents signed up for FlashVote can also provide feedback on the budget during a survey Aug. 14-16. Sign up for the 1-minute surveys at flashvote.com/georgetowntx to receive surveys by phone, text, or email.
“Having community feedback in the budget process is important,” City Manager David Morgan said. “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. This year the City has also implemented a new budget book software called ClearGov that will make viewing the proposed budget even easier for our residents and customers.”
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.
The proposed budget totals $861 million and keeps the City’s property tax rate at 37.4 cents per $100 valuation. The proposed rate is below the voter-approval rate set by the state and can only increase by 3.5 percent on the operations and maintenance portion of the tax rate.
The City’s rate is among the lowest of all cities in the Austin area with a population greater than 20,000. By keeping the rate at 37.4 cents per $100 of valuation, the average property tax bill is expected to increase by $125.
Following solid waste and water and wastewater rate studies, Georgetown residents and customers can expect solid waste, water, and wastewater rates to increase, as well. The budget includes a proposed solid waste rate increase of 4.5 percent for residential customers, or about $0.98 per month, and 9.5 percent for commercial users. Water and wastewater rates are projected to increase 13 percent for all customer types, or approximately $6 a month for a family using 6,000 gallons of water per month.
“The U.S. Census named Georgetown the fastest-growing city in the country for the second year in a row,” Morgan said. “With that growth comes increasing demands and expectations for our services and staff. Our primary focus for next year’s budget is maintaining those service levels while responding to growth and development pressures—particularly building infrastructure needed to keep pace with growth.”
City staff used council goals to develop a preliminary version of next year’s budget, which the council discussed during a July 11 workshop. Staff used council direction from the workshop to develop the proposed budget. The City’s fiscal year spans Oct. 1, 2023, through Sept. 30, 2024.
Major themes of the proposed budget are investments in transportation and utility infrastructure, public safety, and customer services. 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 $139 million more than the current fiscal year’s adopted budget of $722 million. Of this increase, $53 million can be attributed to the growth in the City’s FY2024 capital improvement program over the previous year.
For more information about the annual budget process and details and documents about the proposed FY2024 budget, visit finance.georgetown.org.
Budget adoption timeline
July 11: Council budget workshops
Aug. 8: First presentation of the full budget; City Council sets maximum tax rate and public hearing dates
Aug. 20: Comments on draft budget close (see form online)
Aug. 22: Public hearings and first reading of both the tax rate and the budget
Sept. 12: Second reading and final adoption of the tax rate and budget
Oct. 1: New budget year begins, and new water/wastewater rates are in effect