Note: This is the seventh and last in a series of blog posts about the Fiscal Year 2022 proposed budget and tax rate.
Long-term, strategic planning drives decision making at the City of Round Rock. For the past 30 years, our City Councils have done their best to plan for future growth while taking care of current needs. As the video above shows, those strategic decisions have resulted in satisfied citizens.
Our elected leaders meet each winter to review and update our Strategic Plan. That work session is essentially the kickoff of the budget planning process for the next fiscal year. In short, what gets prioritized is what gets funded.
Here’s how the FY 2022 budget addresses Council’s five-year strategic goals.
Financially Sound City Providing High Value Services
Among the objectives for the No. 1 goal include diversifying revenues to support City services and service levels; maintain City facilities, equipment and apparatus; and hire and retain a top-quality, diverse City workforce.
The FY 22 budget restores most funding to pre-COVID levels for the General Fund, and HOT-funded programs like the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Arts and Culture.
Major items in the budget include $2.8 million for public safety employee salary step increases and market adjustments and $2.5 million for performance and market adjustments for general government employees. The budget also includes $2.3 million for repair and replacement of city facilities; technology; and public safety personal protection gear and other equipment.
City Infrastructure: Today and Tomorrow
Among the objectives for this strategic goal include investing in City infrastructure to support future community growth and economic development, improve mobility throughout the City and the region, and upgrade and expand roads.
The FY 22 budget includes record annual spending for transportation improvements, at $132.7 million, as well as $87.5 million for water and wastewater capital projects, and $4.8 million for stormwater capital projects. This blog post covers infrastructure spending in more detail.
The Sports Capital of Texas for Tourism and Residents
A strong tourism business helps diversify the local economy, and this goal ensures Round Rock grows its position in the thriving sports tourism sector. Most of the revenue to achieve this goal comes from Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) revenue. You can learn more about how the City leverages HOT funds in this budget blog post.
To handle the increasing number of events at the Round Rock Sports Center and Round Rock Multipurpose Complex, we’re converting three temporary positions to full time and adding a coordinator.
The budget also includes funds to maintain and upgrade our sports facilities, including improvements to the Dell Diamond to bring it up to Major League Baseball standards.
Great Community to Live
This goal focuses on the core services that make Round Rock such an attractive community for residents and businesses.
Public safety funding is getting a big boost in the FY 22 budget. The Fire Department is looking at a 16-percent increase, needed to fund a new program that benefits both police and fire. The program will improve our public safety response to behavioral healthcare, which includes mental illness and substance abuse.
The Police Department is adding six new field officers and four non-commissioned specialists as part of a $37 million budget that is 7 percent higher than the current year. Chief Allen Banks says the new personnel are needed to grow the department’s capabilities to respond to a growing community.
The budget includes funding for new Library staff in preparation for the opening of a new, larger facility in early 2023. The new positions will be added in August. We’re also adding two new positions in Parks and Recreation to maintain the City’s growing trail network and replacing the software for program management.
The budget includes significant capital funding for projects like the new Public Library ($9.1 million), Heritage Trail and Lake Creek Trail ($7.3 million) and the South Mays Corridor Project ($300,000).
Authentic Downtown – Exciting Community Destination
Council’s objectives for one-of-a-kind Downtown Round Rock focus on improvements to parking, streetscape, diversifying housing opportunities and expanding access of Brushy Creek.
The opening of the new Public Library will be a catalyst for more redevelopment in Downtown Round Rock, so the budget includes $7.9 million for roadway, utility, and streetscape improvements in the northeast downtown area.
The budget continues funding for the Hometown Holiday Lights as well as marketing initiatives for the Downtown district.
Sustainable Neighborhoods – Old and New
Keeping our neighborhoods safe and maintaining streets and neighborhoods are key objectives of this goal.
The FY 22 budget includes $8.6 million for street maintenance in the South Creek and Round Rock West neighborhoods. The City has allocated $32.4 million for maintaining neighborhood streets since 2015.
The City is utilizing Community Development Block Grant funds to make improvements to Bowman Park ($294,000) and phase II of a sidewalk program for Chisholm Valley ($312,000).
Ensuring funding for projects that implement the City Council’s long-term strategic goals keeps Round Rock Building Toward the Future.