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Marble Falls water, wastewater rates to increase

Property tax rates in Marble Falls could be lowered based on the proposed 2021-22 budget, but taxable values are increasing within the city. Service fees for both water and wastewater will also increase over the next year. 

A public hearing for the proposed budget and a record vote for the tax rate is scheduled for the Sept. 7 City Council meeting. The public hearing for the proposed tax rate and the tax rate and budget adoption will take place during the Sept. 21 meeting. 

The proposed property tax rate for the city of Marble Falls is $0.5990 per $100 valuation. The rate includes $0.2477 for maintenance and operations and $0.3513 cents for interest and sinking. The proposed rate is higher than the no-new revenue rate, which is $0.5893 but lower than the voter-approval rate, which is $0.6334 for the 2021-22 year. Adopting the voter approval rate would trigger an election before the rate could be finalized.

“I’m happy to see we’re below 60 cents for the first time in years,” Mayor Richard Westerman said during an Aug. 17 council meeting. 

During an Aug. 4 budget workshop, a rate of $0.6050 per $100 valuation was proposed, which is a half-cent lower than the $0.6100 rate residents currently pay to fund the 2020-21 budget. However, councilors asked city staff to recalculate the budget with an even lowered rate, Director of Finance Jeff Lazenby said.

The city’s adjusted taxable value has increased roughly 6 percent over the past year. The taxable value is now at $967,817,674, according to the Burnet Central Appraisal District. The valuation was $912,529,758 last year. 

The lowered tax rate is possible because of that increased value and due to a recent uptick in sales tax revenue, which will account for approximately $7.8 million of general fund revenue. 

While property tax rates are decreasing, water and wastewater service rates will increase in accordance with the city’s adopted five-year master fee study, which began in January of this year. Roughly $6.83 million in water/wastewater revenue is anticipated for the 2021-22 fiscal year, with $6.61 in total expenditures. The ending fund balance is projected at $1.55 million.  

For 2022, water rates will be raised by 3 percent, meaning base service for a residence inside city limits will be $26.75 for an three-fourth-inch meter plus $5.07 per thousand gallons for the first 10,000 gallons. For residents outside the city limits, base service for the same size meter will be $40.12 and $7.61 per thousand gallons for the first 10,000 gallons. 

Wastewater rates will be $23.68 for base service and $5.31 per 1,000 gallons, a 12 percent increase compared to the 2021 rate, for residents both inside and outside the city limits.

The city’s water/wastewater fund is supported through rate revenue and not the general fund, Lazenby said in a statement. 

Proposed city budgets can be found on the city’s website. 

brigid@thepicayune.com