Frequently Asked Questions
FY 2015 Proposed Operating Budget
Here are some frequently asked questions concerning the FY 2015 Operating Budget. Please click on each question to quickly view the answer.
What is the total Proposed Operating Budget?
What is the General Fund?
What else besides the General Fund, Debt Service Fund and Water/Wastewater Utility Fund make up the budget?
What is the proposed ad valorem tax rate?
What is the average home value?
What are the funding priorities for the General Fund?
What is the Debt Service Fund?
Where do the General Fund revenues come from?
How does shopping and dining locally affect my property tax rate?
What is the City of Cedar Park’s Budget Philosophy?
Do my water and sewer rates remain the same under the proposed budget?
Q: What is the total Proposed Operating Budget?
General Fund $39,085,001
Debt Service Fund $17,582,792
Water/Wastewater Utility Fund $30,788,167
Q: What is the General Fund?
A: The General Fund is the primary operating fund for the City of Cedar Park. Most of the usual activities of the City of Cedar Park are supported by the General Fund. It is used to account for all assets and liabilities of our City government except those particularly assigned for other purposes in another more specialized fund. The General Fund is primarily supported by ad valorem property tax revenue from residential and commercial property owners and 1 cent of sales tax revenue generated from shopping and dining locally.
Q: What else besides the General Fund, Debt Service Fund and Water/Wastewater Utility Fund make up the budget?
A: Other items in the Proposed operating budget include funds to service our debt related to Utilities (water/wastewater), the 4A Economic Development Corporation and 4B Community Development Corporation which are each funded by ½ cent of sales tax, Solid Waste and Special Revenue Funds such as municipal court fines, administrative fees, permit costs, etc. These comprise the category labeled in the above Proposed Operating Budget breakdown as follows:
Utility Debt Service $5,561,336
4A Corporation $5,267,850
4B Corporation $5,277,160
Solid Waste $3,636,380
Special Revenue Funds $3,793,839
Q: What is the proposed ad valorem tax rate?
A: The proposed property tax rate is 48.5 cents per $100 of valuation, which is below the adopted 2014 rate of 49.25 cents per $100 of valuation. The newly proposed property tax rate of 48.5 cents represents a decrease of ¾ cent for every $100 of property valuation and would be the lowest property tax rate Cedar Park has seen in ten years. The proposed tax rate is above the effective rate of 45.4767 by .030233 cents per $100 valuation. The proposed tax rate is below the rollback rate of 49.0025 cents for a difference of .005025 cents. City Council has set the maximum tax rate at 49 cents, meaning that the final adopted tax rate cannot go over that amount.
• Total estimated taxable value for FY 2015 is about $5.5B
o Existing properties saw an appreciation of $297M = 6% increase to $5.2B
o New growth totaled $240M = 4.9% increase
o Remove property tax abatement = $80,472,025
o Total taxable value = $5.5B, up 12.5% from FY 2014 of $4.9B
• Proposed property tax rate: 48.5 cents
• FY 2014 Adopted tax rate: 49.25 cents
Q: What is the average home value?
A: The estimated average home value in Cedar Park is $232,292. This is about 12% above last year’s value of $207,707.
• Even though the proposed tax rate is lower, because the average home value has increased, and in order to service the growth and increased demand for core services such as public safety and road mobility, the average homeowner could pay slightly more this year.
• Under the proposed rate the average home owner would pay $1,127 this year, an increase of $8.64 per month.
• The average home owner with a property valued last year at $207,707, paid $1,023 in FY 2014.
Q: What are the funding priorities for the General Fund?
A: Along with a proposed lower tax rate, the budget plan focuses on maintaining core services, with an emphasis on transportation improvement projects to increase mobility and a continued commitment to public safety to service Cedar Park’s rapidly expanding population.
Priorities addressed in this budget keep pace with Cedar Park’s phenomenal growth, while providing adequate funding to meet the service expectations of our growing community:
• 52.1% on Public Safety
• 18.1% on Public Works and Development (includes streets and signal maintenance)
• 12.3% on Culture and Recreation
• 9.3% on Support Services
• 8.2% on Administration
Some highlights of the new budget are:
• Transportation and traffic mobility improvements
An increase in the funding of street maintenance projects and the addition of two street maintenance positions
• A continued commitment to public safety
The addition of seven public safety positions including equipment and set-up costs for a Police Lieutenant, Communications Dispatch Supervisor, Dispatcher, Communications Specialist, Fire Lieutenant, Fire Inspector and Public Safety IT Specialist
• Leveraging Technology
A Regional Computer-Aided Dispatch CAD-to-CAD system to enable us to share information with other regional public safety departments, mobile data terminals, a paperless Municipal Court application and an additional IT network position
• A fiscally responsible debt management strategy
Restructuring of debt payments and paying off some existing debt early, along with the funding of the $11M of new transportation projects: The completion of Little Elm Trail from Lakeline Blvd. to Bell Blvd. (US 183), Anderson Mill Road improvements form Whitestone (RM 1431) to Lime Creek Road and the widening of Whitestone from Cottonwood Creek Trail to Market Street
Q: What is the Debt Service Fund?
A: The Debt Service Fund is the debt side of our tax rate. It is comprised of the required debt payments for major projects such as voter-approved bond projects. It also includes the restructuring and defeasance of our debt.
Q: Where do the General Fund revenues come from?
A: The majority of General Fund revenues come from property taxes and sales tax revenues.
• Property tax and Sales tax make up 63% of the General Fund Revenues.
o Approximately 36% comes property taxes
o Approximately 27% comes from local sales tax revenues.
• The remaining 37% comes from various charges for services and franchises (for example cable, gas, electricity), administrative and contract fees, development fees, service fees, fines and forfeitures and, for one-time expenditures, use of fund balance.
Q: How does shopping and dining locally affect my property tax rate?
A: Two cents of every dollar you spend stays in the City of Cedar Park.
• One cent goes directly to the General Fund, which helps reduce the City’s dependence on property tax.
o This past Fiscal Year, local sales tax revenue from local restaurants and retailers added $10.2 million to the General Fund. This represents a $1.5 million increase over last year, when in which sales tax funded $8.2 million of the General Fund.
o This coming Fiscal Year, we expect to sustain our sales tax revenue growth at around $10.5 million going toward the General Fund.
• The other one cent funds Economic and Community Development, which is separate from the General Fund.
o A half cent goes to the 4A Economic Development Corporation, which helps bring new employers and businesses to Cedar Park.
o The other half cent goes to the 4B Community Development Corporation which makes quality of life improvements to our community such as parks roads and other projects of community benefit.
Q: What is the City of Cedar Park’s Budget Philosophy?
A: In keeping with our organization’s Core Values of Community, Service, Innovation, Professionalism, Integrity, Leadership and Fiscal Responsibility, the City of Cedar Park’s budget philosophy is to balance the responsible role of government with stewardship of taxpayer dollars through a base budget process that provides public services that are in line with City Council and citizen priorities. This includes balancing revenues required to meet the service expectations of citizens through maximizing, maintaining, balancing and advancing our resources.
Q: Do my water and sewer rates remain the same under the proposed budget?
A: Yes. We are currently under the Stage 3 temporary drought rate. The Stage 3 monthly rates and charges for water sales and services rendered by the city to customers either outside or within the corporate limits of the city (excluding wholesale customers) are established, fixed and prescribed as follows:
(A) Minimum Charge for First 2,000 Gallons - $19.37 (B) Volume Charge on Water Use over 2,000 Gallons.
2,001 - 10,000 $3.96 per 1,000 gallons
10,001 - 15,000 $4.75 per 1,000 gallons
> 15,000 $5.70 per 1,000 gallons
A) Minimum Charges Per Meter Size for First 2,000 Gallons
3/4" meter $22.60
1" meter $36.83
1 1/2" meter $83.58
2" meter $144.57
3" meter $327.51
4" meter $571.43
6" meter $1,303.18
8" meter $2,319.54
10" meter $3,620.46
(B) Volume Charge on Water Use
Over 2,000 gallons $3.53 per 1,000 gallons
(3) Residential Wastewater Rates
Monthly Base charge $21.70 (includes the first 2,000 gallons)
Usage charge $3.99 per 1,000 gallons beyond the initial 2,000 gallons
Winter wastewater averaging
Sewer rates are re-calculated each March and are based on the average water readings in December, January and February at each meter location. These months are used for calculation because there is less outdoor water usage during this time of year. The Utility Department can obtain an accurate water use at this time and can therefore determine a correct average for sewer usage. New residents that do not have a complete usage history for the months of December, January and February will have their wastewater based on the current citywide winter average or actual water usage, whichever is less, until a winter average for their address has been calculated.