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The Austin Police Department will have a record-amount of funding in the new fiscal year. (Charlie Harper III)

Austin City Council has approved a $4.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2021-2022, where funds were prioritized in public safety, affordable housing and addressing homelessness.


After Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk proposed a budget in July, the city held public engagement events to receive public input before council approved the final budget that greatly reflected the proposed one on Thursday. The fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

The Austin Police Department was allocated a record-high $422 million for the fiscal year that will fund up to three new cadet classes, although the current one is still in a pilot phase after cadet classes were suspended last summer in the wake of mass protests against police brutality and criticism for the paramilitary approach in the classes.

"Council's actions today provide a path forward to build on Austin's many strengths while addressing the challenges we face as a city," Cronk said. "This Budget covers the increase in our base expenses, delivers our programs and services, and many of the critical reforms that our citizens want and that Council has prioritized, with minimal year-over-year impact on the typical Austin ratepayer."

Council voted on a 4.7% property tax increase from last year, higher than the originally proposed 3.5% increase. It was able to surpass the 3.5% state limit due to a disaster declaration from the February winter storm. The city tax bill for the typical homeowner—defined as the owner of a median-valued ($399,760) non-senior home—decreased by $17.12 per year. The combined impact of tax, rate and fee changes show an increase, for the typical ratepayer, of .6%, or an additional $28.12 per year.

Key points from the budget:

  • A record-high $422 million for APD
  • $79 million in voter-approved planned spending to reach key affordable housing goals.
  • $65.2 million in continued funding for the City's response to the homelessness crisis, with specific funding allocated for preventing homelessness, crisis response, housing stabilization, and public space management.
  • $27.7 million to construct new sidewalks and improve existing sidewalks citywide.

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Sample some spirits
When: 11:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Where: Desert Door, 211 Darden Hill Rd. Driftwood
What: Attend Desert Door Distillery’s first Explorer Series of 2022. Guests will be able to sample Caliber on its own or in a delicious cocktail.

Eat some chili
When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sagebrush, 5500 S. Congress Ave.
What: Enjoy great chili and great music at the 14th Annual Chili Cold Blood Chili Cook-Off. All proceeds will be donated to Health Alliance for Austin Musicians in memory of Nick Curran.

Enjoy some local art
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel St.
What: The Neil-Cochran House Museum will host a multi-media art exhibition by Austin artist Nell Gottlieb, titled “Land as Persona: An Artist’s Journey.” Gottlieb works in multiple media to reexamine her coming of age, white and female in the Jim Crow South.

Catch some improv comedy
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: GameOn! ATX, 1515 Dungan Ln.
What: ColdTowne ThrowDowne is an improv comedy tournament between troupes that will take place in front of a live studio audience and streamed live to the world on Twitch.

Catch a Johnny Cash-style show
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Georgetown Palace Theatre, 810 S. Austin Ave.
What: Experience music history with a unique musical about love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and the healing power of home and family set to the tune of the legendary Johnny Cash.