Despite the catastrophic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued growth and high sales-tax revenues had the Burnet City Council considering a slightly lower property tax rate during its regular meeting and workshop Aug. 11.
The proposed tax rate for fiscal year 2020-21 is 62.31 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The previous fiscal years’s tax rate was slightly higher at 62.37 cents. A property tax bill is dependent on the property value as well as the property tax rate.
“We’re very proud of all the work that all the past councils have put in to put us in a position to be able to ride through COVID,” Burnet City Manager David Vaughn said. “Not only are we not having to reduce services, but to be in a position to help the community with the grant programs with utilities assistance that we’re continuing to provide.”
New construction, growth, and increased property valuation added $31 million to the tax base this year.
“So, that’s a tremendous help, especially through the uncertain times we’re going through right now,” Vaughn said.
The city also enjoyed strong sales-tax revenues thanks to internet sales and a healthy pre-COVID-19 economy. Burnet collects a 2 percent sales tax on taxable items and services. This has yielded $1.8 million in sales-tax payments so far this year, which is about a 10 percent increase over the same time last year.
“The sales-tax revenues just continue to explode and even, despite COVID, have not gone backward but have continued to climb,” Vaughn said. “Not a lot of communities can say that, so we feel very blessed.”
The city also proposed a $12 million general fund budget. The City Council is keeping water and electric utilities the same, but garbage rates will increase 3 percent.
The proposed budget includes a 3 percent salary increase for city employees, but no new positions will be added.
The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed tax rate and budget during its Aug. 27 meeting at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Burnet Municipal Airport, 2302 U.S. 281 South.