AUSTIN (KXAN) – Here’s what we’re looking at ahead of Thursday’s city council meeting:
Homestead Exemptions and Tax Rate: Approved
The council voted on several items relating to Austinite property taxes. Two of these are proposed changes to homestead exemption. The Council only decided on Thursday in first and second reading to double the exemption rate for homesteads from 10 to 20%. For those aged 65 and over or people with disabilities, the council agreed, with consent, to increase the tax break from $ 88,000 to $ 113,000.
Austin City Council wants property tax lower
The council also approved asking the city’s budget office to consider an 8% increase in property tax next year. During Tuesday’s working session, councilors were quick to say this was just a budget calculation, and the rate hike doesn’t have to be as high as 8%. Typically, cities in Texas can only increase taxes by 3.5% per year – any increase beyond that would trigger a tax rate choice. However, Governor Greg Abbott’s disaster declaration allows cities to cross that threshold for the next year.
MORE: Governor proposes plan to cap local property taxes
Assistance with backlogs: Approved with approval with instruction
The city council, which is handling permit and plan review requests, says it needs more help with the demand and is asking the council to approve 41 new full-time positions. In a region that is already experiencing tremendous year-on-year growth, the city’s approval process has often been criticized by developers for being slow and arduous.
Amid the housing shortage, Austin is trying to keep up with permits to build more
“With the current staff, we are unable to meet our forecast inspection times,” said Denise Lucas, director of Austin DSD.
According to the city’s website, residential property processing delays take 7-10 working days longer than the department’s destination. Commercial delays are estimated to be 8 business days longer.
The Development Services Department also says that the volume of residential permits increased by 13.5% compared to the same period last fiscal year and 16% compared to the same period in fiscal year 2019. The volume of residential plan reviews increased 31% over the same period FY20.
Permit sums, Austin (Source: City of Austin)
The ministry says it will not increase fees in the next year’s budget to support the 41 agencies.
Homeless Service Contract: Approved
A new contract would pay Integral Care to provide lodging and services at the Texas Bungalows Hotel at 13311 Burnet Road. The city council approved the purchase of the hotel in January. Housing and services would be intended for people with disabilities who were also chronically homeless. The Council intended to take up this point on May 20, but was postponed.
In council documents, employees refer to the Texas Bungalow Permanent Supportive Housing Program. Last week the city announced that the purchase of Texas Bungalows and Candlewood Suites was still ongoing.
Homeless Fee Exemption: Approved
The council decided to forego more than $ 4 million in development fees and infrastructure support for the next phases of Community First! Village, a community that provides shelter for people coming from chronic homelessness. The village is currently home to more than 200 people, according to Council documents.
The next two phases will add houses in two different locations. One of these locations is 51 acres near what is now the village on Hog Eye Road in the far northeast of Austin. The other location will be 10 miles south of 76 acres on Burleson Road between McKinney Falls Parkway and US 183.
According to Council documents, one of the phases would add 500 apartments and the other 800 apartments.
Community first! was developed by the non-profit Mobile Loaves and Fishes.
Rent reduction: Approved after approval
The council voted to accept $ 93,522 in grants from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Most of the money will go towards rental support for those financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and provided by the Austin Area Urban League.