City Council adopts new budget
Cedar Park City Council adopts lowest tax rate since 1998 with new budget
The Cedar Park City Council adopted ad valorem property tax rate of 44.7 cents for every $100 of property valuation – representing a 2/10-cent decrease from last year’s 44.9 cents – at its September 26, 2019 Regular City Council Meeting. Combined with the new homestead exemption that City Council unanimously passed in 2018, the average Cedar Park homeowner may see roughly a $4.50 monthly increase in his or her property taxes paid to the City of Cedar Park in 2020. Property taxes paid to the City represent only about 18 percent of the total tax bill; the rest goes to the school district, county and other taxing entities. This also marks the seventh consecutive year City Council has lowered the tax rate and it is the lowest Cedar Park has seen since 1998.
With the new tax rate City Council passed a $58.1 million General Fund budget for FY 2020. The theme of the proposed budget is Framing our Future, focusing on managing the City’s ability to service and buy down as much as $2.95 million in debt saving approximately $1 million in interest payments and investing in essential services and infrastructure to meet the expectations of residents. It includes the third and final takedown of voter-approved General Obligation Bond funds from the 2015 Bond Program, as well as a significant investment in public safety. Half (50 percent) of the General Fund operational budget goes towards public safety, with $348,523 funding two new Police positions and $807,500 earmarked for Police and Fire additional compensation including an increase to their overall pay plans as well as tenure-based annual step increases based per their meet-and-confer agreements.
The majority of new capital projects in the FY 2020 budget are bond-funded, including $8.6 million in transportation projects such as RM 1431 between Bagdad Road and Anderson Mill Road, Brushy Creek Road from Arrowhead Trail to Ranch Trails and Lakeline Park roadway infrastructure; $18.24 million for the future new library construction; and $2.5 million in voter-approved bond funding for Parkland and Development.
Two cents of local sales tax for every dollar spent on shopping and dining within the City Limits of Cedar Park stay in Cedar Park and help offset the City’s reliance upon property taxes to fund the budget: one cent supports the General Fund, a half cent goes to the Community Development (Type B) fund, 3/8 cent goes to the Economic Development (Type A) fund. An eighth of a cent goes towards Stormwater Drainage, approved by voters in 2018.
Community Development Capital Projects ($5.17 million) include:
- Lakeline Park Phase I
- The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project
- Bell Boulevard Park planning
- A trail connection associated with the relocation of James Avery Artisan Jewelry’s second headquarters
- Right turn lanes on Southbound Bell Boulevard at westbound Cypress Creek Road
- Additional improvements to the Cedar Bark Park at Veterans Memorial Park and
- Engineering of the Brushy Creek North Fork Trail
Cedar Park is the Central Texas next major job center, so Economic Development continues to be a major theme of the Cedar Park budget – through funding existing 380 agreements and building the Economic Development fund for future agreements. The FY 2020 budget also sees to the full implementation of the City’s relatively new Stormwater Drainage Program, with capital projects that include the Block House Creek Park Channel, the lower area of Cluck Creek, Ranchettes 2 and 3 and Riviera East.
City Manager Brenda Eivens says, “This structurally balanced budget recognizes that the decisions made today in the management of the City’s finances and assets, frame and guide the City’s ability to provide exceptional service, safety, and infrastructure not only today, but into the future. As Cedar Park enters its 47th year as a city, we proudly reflect on how Cedar Park’s steady growth over the years has transformed us into the vibrant community that we are today. This budget delivers value to our residents with continued public safety excellence and maintaining and enhancing our community assets that make Cedar Park the best place for families.”
New FY 2020 budget information will be updated next week on www.MyCedarParkBudget.com, where you will be able to see highlights of the budget and gain a better understanding of the budget and what all your property tax dollars support. There you’ll find animated illustrations, interactive explanations, and a property tax calculator – in which you can enter your home’s assessed value and instantly see a chart that shows exactly where your property tax dollars go.