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City's proposed $152 million budget features lower tax rate, funding for bond projects

Budget FAQ (PDF) | Budget Highlights (PDF)

City Manager Steve Norwood presented the proposed fiscal 2015 budget (PDF) and tax rate to the Round Rock City Council on Friday, Aug. 1. The fiscal plan features a tax rate that is slightly lower than the current rate. Round Rock  would continue to have a property tax rate that is among the lowest for any medium-to-large city in the state.

The proposed $152 million budget includes $95 million for general services, $42 million for utilities and $15 million for debt. Included in the tax rate calculation are debt payments for the first issuance of bonds approved by voters in November 2013.  The City is working on $71 million of capital projects for parks and trails, a public safety training facility and new fire stations.

"Round Rock continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the country  and indicators show both the regional and Round Rock economies remain healthy in economic activity and will continue to experience population growth," Norwood said. "This growth has placed pressures on City resources, and the proposed budget responds to this increased demand for services. Two primary priorities addressed in this budget are sufficient funding to adequately provide core operating services in the midst of population growth, and tailor City services to better meet the needs and expectations of a larger community."

This budget plan proposes a tax rate of 41.465 cents per $100 of property value, lower than last year's rate of 41.949 cents per $100.

Residential utility rates for water and wastewater services will increase January 2015 by 2.5 percent. Round Rock water and wastewater rates continue to be among the lowest in the area.

Sales tax revenue is extremely important to Round Rock because it reduces reliance on property taxes and makes up approximately 51 percent of General Fund revenue. While Dell sales tax figures continue to show declines from previous years, sales tax from other sources within the City negate the impact. Dell is expected to produce 27 percent of sales tax revenue. The City is estimating a 7 percent increase in sales tax revenues, to $49.4 million.

The proposed budget includes 13 additions to personnel for the General Fund:

  • Four additional School Resource Officers. The City will contract with Round Rock ISD) to provide additional coverage in middle schools
  • Three police officers and three civilian call takers to keep pace with growing community service demands
  • An additional mechanic to assist with increased public safety vehicle maintenance demands
  • An additional building inspector to manage increased residential and commercial construction activity
  • An administrative staff person to support the General Services department, where one does not currently exist
  • $1.9 million in funding for residential street maintenance.

The City Council will vote on the proposed budget and tax rate at its Sept. 11 and Sept. 25 meetings.

Posted: Friday, August 01, 2014

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