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Marble Falls tax rate, budget proposals take pandemic into account

Should the City Council adopt proposals issued Aug. 18, the city of Marble Falls will maintain its property tax rate of 61 cents per $100 valuation and reduce its budget for the next fiscal year in response to the economic uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. 

“We’re being really conservative with our approach, not knowing what’s going to happen,” said City Manager Mike Hodge of the proposed budget. 

The Marble Falls City Council held a public hearing on the proposed property tax rate and budget during its Aug. 14 meeting. They followed with a discussion on proposed budgets for the city and its Economic Development Corp. as well as the proposed tax rate.

The current overall property tax rate of 61 cents will remain the same for the next fiscal year under the proposal. There are some changes within the proposed rate with the city considering increasing the debt service portion slightly due to some debt issued for flood recovery projects. The city is looking at cutting the maintenance and operation side. 

Department expenditures took cuts across the board, averaging a 4.48 percent dip in total expenditures. In real numbers, the 2019-20 departmental expenditures totaled $12.1 million. The proposed expenditures for 2020-21 come in at $11.6 million.

The budget does not include any new major hirings, expansions, or acquisitions.

“Normally, we’ve had some pretty good growth on the sales-tax side,” Hodge said. “Next year, we’re not proposing any growth at all on the tax-rate side. We’re not looking at hiring any new positions. We are currently in a spending freeze and also a hiring freeze.”

“We hope that it’s going to bounce back, but we’d rather be conservative up front,” he added. “The staff and the council both appreciate that.”

The City Council will vote on adopting the proposed property tax rate and budgets during its regular Sept. 15 meeting.