Decision Points

Budget plan restores funding for street maintenance, balanced at effective rate

The Round Rock City Council will consider a $137 million fiscal 2012 budget (PDF) that includes renewed funding for street maintenance, balanced at the effective tax rate, and no water/wastewater utility rate increases.

City Manager Steve Norwood presented copies of the proposed budget to the City Council on Monday, Aug. 1. The City Council will discuss the budget in detail at its Aug. 16-17 retreat, and will vote on the budget and property tax rate at its Sept. 8 and Sept. 22 meetings.

The proposed general fund budget is 2.4 percent higher than the current budget. For the past two years, the general fund budget has decreased by a total of nearly 6 percent.

The budget projects sales tax revenue to increase to $43 million, 6.2 percent more than was budgeted in the current fiscal year.

“This budget continues a very conservative approach to revenue projections,” Norwood said. “We are definitely seeing improvement in our local economy, but we want to ensure we are living within our means and this budget reflects that approach.”

The effective tax rate of 42.321 cents per $100 of valuation provides the same amount of revenue collected last year from properties on the tax roll last year. Because overall property values have decreased slightly, the effective rate is slighter higher than last year’s tax rate. An individual property owner’s payment will vary compared to last year based on the change in the appraised value of their home.

The budget includes $1.2 million for street maintenance. New funding for street maintenance had been put on hold for two years due to budget constraints. The funds for street maintenance scheduled to begin later this month were carried over from previous budgets.

“Without question the No. 1 issue I have heard from council and residents is the need to improve our maintenance program as it relates to residential streets,” Norwood said. “This budget has a significant amount of additional dollars dedicated solely to improving the condition of our neighborhood streets.”

For the second consecutive year, there are no proposed increases to retail water and wastewater rates. There is also no increase in drainage utility rates.

The budget includes funds to bring various employee salaries up to market levels. City employees have not had salary increases since April 2009.

“This budget continues to place a priority on our public safety and public service employees, and we have a limited amount of funding to ensure many of our job classes are paid competitively,” Norwood said. “It’s not huge, but it does address the most pressing areas.”

Posted: Aug 02 2011, 09:34 AM by Will Hampton | with no comments
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