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Austin city manager proposes budget focused on affordable housing and homelessness

Homeless individuals have been camping outside City Hall for more than two months now. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk proposed a budget of $4.5 billion for the 2021-2022 fiscal year to City Council members on Friday, placing priority on infrastructure investments, affordable housing, homelessness response and reimagining public safety.


According to a press release, the proposed budget is "the smallest increase in tax and fees in the past five years," and Cronk said the increase was kept below 1% to help quell the financial hardship caused by COVID-19 on Austinites.

The typical taxpayer would see a tax and fee increase of 0.85%—which is equivalent to just over $3 monthly—in the proposed budget.

City Manager Spencer Cronk announced the proposed budget on Friday in East Austin. (City of Austin)


"The good news is that, economically, Austin, Texas, has come through the many challenges of the past year in as good, or better shape, than any big city in America," Cronk said. "Our local economy is fundamentally strong and performed unexpectedly well during the COVID pandemic, with more positive impacts for our budget than we anticipated even a few months ago."

Budget allocation highlights:

  • $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.
  • $29.1 million to maintain and advance progress on Reimagining Public Safety.
  • $27.7 million to construct new sidewalks and improve existing sidewalks citywide.
  • $8.5 million in planned capital spending on the City's Safe Routes to School program.
  • $6.2 million to fund the 144th class and future classes of the reimagined Austin Police Department Training Academy.
  • $1.2 billion for the general fund, which covers day-to-day and long-term operations.

Is the budget final?

Not yet. Austin City Council will review the proposed budget and adopt a final version on August 11. Fiscal year 2021-2022 begins on October 1.

How can I get involved?

If you have feelings about how the money should be spent, let the city know through its online engagement survey. Austin City Council will also hold community input meetings on July 22 and 29, and some council members will host individual town halls for feedback before the budget deadline on August 1.

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