Note: This is the third in a series of posts about the City of Round Rock’s proposed fiscal 2021 budget and tax rate.
Maintaining a strategic focus year–in and year–out, in good times and bad, is one reason Round Rock is featured on so many “Best Place” lists. The proposed budget continues that practice, prioritizing spending on projects that drive long-term progress on keeping Round Rock a great place to live and run a business.
Even though the proposed fiscal year 2021 budget is $25 million less than the budget approved this time last year, it still funds key programs of the City Council’s strategic priorities.
Financially Sound City Providing High Value Services
The Council’s top priority is supported in our General Fund budget, with funding for maintenance and upgrades for facilities, parks and technology. Because of reduced revenues, the “buckets” for these programs are being funded at reduced levels.
The budget also includes step increases and market adjustments for public safety staff, and cost of living increases and market adjustments, if needed, for general government staff.
City Infrastructure: Today and for Tomorrow
Keeping up with water, wastewater, stormwater and transportation improvements is critical to maintaining quality of life in a fast-growing community like Round Rock.
The 2021 spending plan includes $91.7 million for road and street projects, and $77.2 million for water and wastewater improvements, including a major expansion of a regional wastewater treatment plant.
The transportation projects slated for funding include:
- Engineering on widening Gattis School Road Section 3, Red Bud Lane South and North, and the extensions of Wyoming Springs and Old Settlers Boulevard
- Construction of Gattis School Road Section 6, Kenney Fort Boulevard Sections 2-3 and 4, Logan Street bridge, University East, University widening and Oakmont Drive
- Planned completion of North Mays Street extension (in partnership with Williamson County), Logan Drive Bridge and railroad quiet zones.
The City Council is also considering an additional $1.5 million for neighborhood street maintenance.
Sports Capital of Texas for Tourism and Residents
Our Go Round Rock tourism program had to hit the pause button due to the significant impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry, but there are bright spots and the future still holds much promise.
The Round Rock Sports Center continues to be self-supporting through the hotel-motel venue tax. The Round Rock Multipurpose Complex has reopened, under health guidelines from the Governor and CDC, and is beginning to recover revenues lost in the current fiscal year. And City-owned Forest Creek Golf Club is on track to cover expenses again this year, following extensive renovation and a shutdown in 2018.
Great Community to Live
There is $8.6 million earmarked for the Heritage Trail and Lake Creek Trail projects, which will connect neighborhoods west of I-35 to downtown. The budget also includes $1 million for the Behren’s Ranch Nature Park.
While the new library is scheduled to break ground in FY21, it won’t be completed until November 2023.
The budget plan includes $1.8 million for improvements to the South Mays Street commercial corridor, which will be funded with Type B sales tax revenues.
Authentic Downtown – Exciting Community Destination
Significant infrastructure improvements for Northeast Downtown are planned, in part to support the new library mentioned above as well as continued redevelopment in the area. A total of $6.4 million is budgeted for water, wastewater, drainage, transportation and dry utility improvements.
The budget also includes funds for continuing the Hometown Holiday lights and displays as well as marketing initiatives for Downtown Round Rock.
Sustainable Neighborhoods – Old and New
The most significant expenditure for neighborhoods is $1.5 million for street maintenance. The City Council has prioritized funding for maintaining our neighborhood streets to keep them good condition based on the fact that ongoing maintenance is less expensive over time than rebuilding them. Since 2015, the City has allocated $22.3 million for neighborhood street maintenance.
The budget continues to fund our Neighborhood Services program, which provides services for active and engaged neighborhoods to revitalize themselves using community resources.
The FY21 budget proposal keeps Round Rock on track to achieving its long-term vision, as well as providing the basic services needed to keep the community so livable for residents and businesses.