The City of Georgetown is inviting the public to provide comments on the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget through an online comment box that will be available through August 21. Members of the public can also participate in all public hearings during the budget approval process. Public comments and feedback will be sent to City Council for its Aug. 23 meeting, during which the council is scheduled to hold public hearings and first readings of both the tax rate and the budget.
“It’s important to have community feedback in the budget process,” said City Manager David Morgan. “I hope residents will visit 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’s budget affects every resident of the city. How the city allocates taxpayer dollars and monthly costs as utility customers determines the level of service customers receive in return for city functions such as: and accessible hiking trails.
The proposed budget totals $722 million and will reduce the city’s property tax rate by 2.7 cents (from 40.1 cents per $100 appraisal to 37.4 cents). The proposed rate is lower than the state’s voter approval rate and can only be increased by 3.5 percent on the operations and maintenance portion of the tax rate.
This is the third straight year that the city has proposed a reduction in the property tax rate, maintaining the city’s rate as one of the lowest of any city in the Austin area with a population of more than 20,000. The council also recently voted to increase the homestead tax exemption to $5,000 or 5 percent, whichever is greater. Lowering the rate to 37.4 cents per $100 appraisal and accounting for the increase in the homestead tax exemption is expected to increase the average property tax bill by $56.
After cost recovery analyzes in several departments and a study of water and sewage rates, Georgetown residents and customers can expect several utility rates and water and sewer rates to increase as well.
“The US Census last year named Georgetown the fastest growing city in the country,” Morgan said. “With this growth come increasing demands and expectations of our services and employees. Our primary focus for next year’s budget is maintaining that level of service while responding to this record-breaking growth and economic pressures across the country. Next year’s budget proposal continues our usual practice of budgeting conservatively and taking steps to reduce the burden on taxpayers where possible.”
City officials used the council’s goals to develop a tentative version of next year’s budget, which the council discussed during a July 19 workshop. Staff used the workshop advice to develop the proposed budget. The city’s fiscal year runs from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023.
Key themes of the proposed budget are maintaining service levels in the face of record-breaking growth and responding to nationwide economic pressures in conducting studies and projects started this year, managing staff workload pressures, improving risk management practices, and responding to a strained labor market through retention and attraction efforts. Adequately funding these priorities — specifically, building the infrastructure needed to keep up with growth, responding to development pressures, and retaining and recruiting high-quality employees — helped bring the proposed budget to $239.5 million. dollars was above the originally assumed current fiscal year budget of $483 million.
For more information on the annual budget process, as well as details and documents related to the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget, visit finance.georgetown.org.
Schedule for budget adoption
July 19: Council budget workshops
August 9th: First presentation of the overall budget; The city council sets the maximum tax rate and dates for public hearings
August 21: Close comments on the draft budget (see form online)
August 23: Public hearings and first reading of both tax rate and budget
13 Sep: Second reading and final adoption of tax rate and budget
1 Oct: The new financial year begins and new water/wastewater tariffs apply