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Austin 2021-22 budget approved with record police funding

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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