The Austin City Council adopted a $5 billion budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
The budget includes a range of investments and directions that will be applied to rental assistance, fire and EMS stations, police cadet academies and more.
With the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, City Manager Spencer Cronk said the budget puts the city in a strong position to recruit and retain staff.
“It does this while reducing the City’s portion of the annual property tax bill for the typical homeowner and investing in public safety, disaster response, and actions to address climate change,” Cronk said.
The general fund budget is $1.3 billion with almost two-thirds of it allocated to public safety and the remaining funds will go toward court services, animal services, family health services, and management of libraries and parks.
A few big ticket items in the budget include:
- $73 million in planned capital spending to build and repair city sidewalks.
- $79 million for homelessness prevention, crisis response, housing stabilization, and public space management–including $4.8 million to clean up homeless encampments.
- $79 million investment in affordable housing to meet goals set by the Austin Strategic Housing Blueprint.
With Austin’s status as the live music capital of the world, there are some investments geared toward that like $27 million for cultural arts, historic preservation and live music as well as a $2.5 million investment in the Iconic Venue Fund, which helps preserve places of cultural significance.
After two days of deliberations, council also made some amendments in light of recent events such as lifeguard shortages and the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade. Their additions include:
- $7 million General Fund increase to raise the City’s minimum wage beyond the City Manager’s proposal of $18 per hour, to $20 per hour.
- $17.8 million in capital funding to complete construction of the Goodnight Ranch Fire/EMS station in southeast Austin.
- An additional $3 million added to the $5 million proposed by the City Manager to help prevent displacement and homelessness as rents rise.
- An increase in the number of full-time lifeguards to 13 to keep the City’s pools open and safe.
- $1.2 million to expand an EMS program providing whole blood transfusions to patients before they reach the hospital.
- Option to run additional police academies customized for candidates with prior law enforcement experience.
- $350,000 to provide education and services focused on sexual and reproductive health and wellness, and contraception.
As for the impact this will have on taxpayers, the city noted rates and fees, including electricity, trash service and the transportation user fee will rise for typical ratepayers. This is in response to escalating operations costs and increasing service demands brought by population growth.
The typical taxpayer can expect a nearly 4% increase—equivalent to an additional $14.14 per month.
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Austin is suing Disney, Hulu and Netflix.
The capital city joined 24 other Texas cities in a lawsuit claiming that the streaming giants have stiffed them on a franchise fee required under state law. That fee is in exchange for using communication lines that transmit services to viewers.
Franchise fee money has been lost in recent years as people turn to streaming services over cable, whose providers pay the fee too. Cities then use that revenue to fund services like roads, parks and libraries along with fire protection and police.
The money requested dates back to the launch of the streaming services and for each year going forward. For Netflix, which with 220 million accounts has the most subscribers, cities are asking for funds dating back to 2007.
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Austin-Travis County EMS responded to a major car wreck involving multiple vehicles and a semi-truck along I-35 Wednesday morning.
The crash occurred at 12100 North I-35 going south, according to ATCEMS, with a total of 12 people involved, including one minor. Four were transported to the hospital with three declared trauma alerts. Another four people refused EMS transport.
None of the transports are expected to have life-threatening injuries.
Major Traffic Collision at 12100 N Ih 35 Sb (08:26). #ATCEMS & @Austinfireinfo are on scene of a collision involving multiple vehicles & a semi truck. #ATCEMSMedics reporting 12 total patients w/ 5 needing transport, 2 have been declared Trauma Alerts. More info to follow. pic.twitter.com/voKNcLbTDW
— ATCEMS (@ATCEMS) June 29, 2022
At 9 a.m., I-35 was blocked off from Yager Lane to Braker Lane.
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