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During its regular meeting Sept. 8, the Burnet City Council adopted a property tax rate and budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The councilors and city staff even managed to shave off a half-cent from an earlier proposed rate for a final one of 61.81 cents per $100 valuation. The City Council was eyeing a rate of 62.31 cents following an August meeting. This also marks a decrease from the 2019-20 property tax rate of 62.37 cents as well. 

The city estimates a $20,000 reduction in the general fund as a result of the half-cent cut, but officials feel amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s something they could do for residents.

“Mainly, we’re trying to be respectful of the situation that everyone is in with COVID and the impact that’s had on the community,” City Manager David Vaughn said regarding the lower, newly approved property tax rate.

A property owner’s tax bill is dependent both on the property tax rate and property value. 

Growth, new construction, and increased property valuation added $31 million to the city’s tax base this year. Burnet also benefited from 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, yielding $1.8 million in sales-tax payments so far this year. That’s a 10.53 percent increase over the same period of time a year ago.

The budget includes a 3 percent salary quality-of-life increase for city employees, but it doesn’t fund any new positions.

The city’s $12 million general fund budget remains largely unchanged. The City Council is keeping water and electric utilities the same, but garbage rates will increase 3 percent.