Here’s a breakdown of Travis County’s budget for 2023
Photo by Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT
Thursday, September 29, 2022 by Haya Panjwani, KUT
The Travis County Court of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a $1.52 billion budget for 2023 that cuts average homeowner property taxes by about $18 a year and adds funding for gun violence prevention programs , higher wages for county employees and housing initiatives.
It also increases funding for education and health care programs, two areas precinct 1 commissioner Jeff Travillion said are at risk in the state legislature.
“Things that have come out of (the Legislative Assembly) have frankly harmed the public education system, access to health care – all the things that we have demonstrated and appreciate through our budget,” he said. “So it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
The court reduced the tax rate to 3.93 cents. Properties will now be taxed at 31.82 cents per $100 of assessed value. This reduces the average property tax by $18.10.
County Judge Andy Brown said the lower tax rate was possible because of Travis County’s AAA rating, which allows it to pay a lower rate when it borrows money.
“The other (reason for lower tax rates) is that there was new construction, which always helps. … The people who already live here don’t bear all the burden, but the new construction also helps pay local property taxes.
The Court of Commissioners also increased the homestead exemptions for those 65 and older or disabled by $10,000. This means that the property tax bill for people benefiting from this exemption should decrease by approximately $32.
About $2 million has been allocated for the construction of affordable housing.
The county also approved raising the minimum wage from $15 to $20 an hour, a move that mirrored action that the Austin City Council took earlier this year. The budget also includes a 5% salary increase for all current employees, as well as salary adjustments based on market conditions.
More than $5 million will be used to increase the minimum wage for temporary election workers and increase in operating hours in the next elections.
For weeks, commissioners have been hearing about programs to help victims of gun violence, through means like counselling. They allocated $337,000 for counselling.
The court also approved $500,000 to create a program enabling people involved in the criminal justice system to find mental health resources, social services and long-term housing. More than $700,000 has been allocated to a pilot mental health program for people incarcerated or released from the prison system.
The budget goes into effect on October 1.
Editor’s Note: Andy Brown is a member of the board of directors of the Capital of Texas Media Foundation, the nonprofit parent association of the Austin Monitor.
This story was produced as part of the austin monitorreporting partnership with KUT.
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