The $311 million budget includes additional staff for public safety, transportation, planning, general services and parks, with $136 million for major equipment and capital projects – including many approved by voters in a 2013 bond election.
Among the capital projects planned for 2016 are:
- Two new fire stations
- Transportation improvements include University Boulevard, Creek Bend Boulevard extension, La Frontera resurfacing and design for the widening of Gattis School Road
- Downtown transportation improvements include the enhancement of Mays Street, Main Street and Round Rock Avenue to provide better access to adjoining businesses and pedestrian safety
- Construction of Heritage Trail East
- Expansion of the Rock ’N River water park
- Begin the design phases of a Multi-Purpose Sports Complex in Old Settlers Park
The budget proposal is balanced at a tax rate of 41.465 cents per $100 of valuation, the same as last year. For the owner of a $216,594 home (the average value) that means an increase of $75 next year. Home values have increased by an average of 9.1 percent.
The foundation for the budget was laid in February, at the City Council’s annual planning work session. Among the broad strategic goals affirmed at the meeting were:
- Financially sound city providing high value services
- City infrastructure for today and tomorrow
- Sports Capital of Texas for tourism and residents
- Great community to live
- Authentic downtown
- Sustainable neighborhoods
The budget includes water and wastewater rates that will increase 3 percent in January 2016, with no changes to drainage and solid waste pickup rates.
The public hearing and approval schedule for the budget and tax rate were:
- 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 — First public hearing on tax; public hearing on budget; first reading of budget and tax rate ordinances
- Thursday, Sept. 17 — Second public hearing on tax rate (time to be determined)
- 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 — Second readings and final adoption of budget and tax rate ordinances