Decision Points

August 2012 - Posts

Proposed budget features lower tax rate, increased funding for street maintenance

The City of Round Rock’s proposed fiscal 2013 budget features a tax rate slightly lower than last year while increasing funding for street maintenance by 36 percent, and maintaining an emphasis on public safety, community development and parks.

City Manager Steve Norwood formally presented the draft budget (PDF) to the City Council on Aug. 1. The City Council will review the budget at its Aug. 14-15 annual planning retreat. The budget and tax rate will be voted on at the Council’s two regularly scheduled meetings in September. A helpful Budget In Brief (PDF) document provides a high level overview of the budget. We've also compiled an FAQ for the budget.

“The City continues to take a conservative, long-term approach to its financial and operational planning,” Norwood said. “The decisions that are made now will strongly influence what the City will look like and how it will operate for years to come.”

Priorities addressed in this budget provide adequate funding to maintain current service levels in a growing community, with the exception of increased funding for street maintenance.

The budget proposes a tax rate of 42.035 cents per $100 of property value, compared to 42.321 cents last year. The owner of an average value home would pay $732.29 under the proposal, about $12 less than last year.

The City of Round Rock continues to have a property tax rate that is among the lowest of any medium-to-large city in the state, including those cities with an additional half-cent sales tax for property tax reduction.

Sales tax revenue is extremely important to the City in that it reduces property taxes and makes up approximately 51 percent of the General Fund revenue. Sales tax revenues have seen a stabilization trend for the past two years, and are continuing.

While Dell sales tax figures continue to show declines from the previous year, sales tax from other sources within the City help to reduce the impact. Due to the volatile nature of sales tax revenues, a conservative approach was utilized in estimating this budgeted amount. Reflecting current and anticipated economic conditions, this budget includes a sales tax estimate for the General Fund of $45 million.

Water and wastewater rates will remain unchanged from current rates. The City Council adopted a four-tier water rate structure in May that is designed to encourage conservation.

“I believe the proposed budget reflects a fiscally responsible approach to improving the City’s current infrastructure, and meet the current demands while maintaining the City’s strong financial position,” Norwood said. “We look forward to Round Rock citizens input and discussion of the FY 2013 proposed operating budget.”

Public hearings will be conducted at the Sept. 13 and Sept. 27 Council meetings.

Posted: Aug 08 2012, 01:34 PM by Will Hampton | with no comments |
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Happy Storm Water New Year!

On Aug. 13, the City of Round Rock staff celebrates “Storm Water New Year” as we reach the end of another storm water permit year. Our mandatory permit requires the City to maintain and hopefully improve water quality in our creeks and waterways.  Each we are required to report our accomplishments to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

This year is particularly significant as we reach the end of our five-year permit term which requires full implementation of the Best Management Practices and accomplishment of goals listed in the permit (PDF).

We are proud to say that we completed all of the permit requirements but we realize there is still much work to do. The 2012 City Survey (PDF) revealed 43.5 percent of Round Rock citizens are “Very Satisfied” or “Satisfied” with the “City storm water education and outreach efforts.” However, it also revealed there is another 10.4 percent who expect more. Our own (non-statistical) storm water awareness survey demonstrated that approximately one-third of respondents do NOT know our storm inlets drain directly to creeks. What!?! That is right – we have a ‘storm drain’ system that drains directly to creeks without filtration or treatment.

Round Rock grew 20 percent and gained more than 17,000 residents in the last permit term (2007-2012). Many of our new residents are from older areas of the country where storm “sewers” combine with wastewater flows and pass through a treatment plant. They do not realize that if they throw their cigarette butt into the inlet, blow their grass clippings into the street or fail to properly pick up after a pet … the next rains will carry all of this into our creeks. Yuck!

Look for more information and outreach from the Round Rock Storm Water team as we work toward increasing residents’ understanding of how they can help improve the water quality in our creeks. In the meantime, please visit storm water on the city website for more information.