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The Marble Falls City Council proposed a 2023-24 fiscal year tax rate that is 3.17 percent less than last year’s and a budget that’s 19 percent more during its Aug. 15 regular meeting.

Public hearings on the budget are scheduled for Sept. 5 and 19, before councilors officially approve it.

If approved as proposed, the city budget will increase from $15.9 million for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, to $18.9 million for 2023-24. Councilors wrote the proposed budget during a July 31 workshop.

The proposed tax rate is $0.54 per $100 valuation, a 3.17 percent decrease from last year’s rate of $0.5577 per $100 valuation. With approval, it would be the seventh consecutive year the city has lowered its property tax rate. 

“It is a continued decrease and a trend of decreasing rates for multiple years,” said Mayor Pro-tem Dee Haddock during the Aug. 15 meeting. 

Taxes have decreased across Burnet County based on higher property valuations from the Burnet Central Appraisal District. 

To calculate Marble Falls’ overall tax rate, officials combine the city’s maintenance and operations tax rate with the debt service rate. The proposed maintenance and operations tax rate for the new fiscal year is $0.2009. The debt service rate, also known as the interest and sinking rate, is a proposed $0.3391.

The 2023-24 budget includes $225,000 to purchase an additional 4,000 acre-feet of water from the Lower Colorado River Authority to be put in reserves.

Also in the new budget is the authorization of Marble Falls Fire Rescue to get in line to purchase a new fire apparatus from Pierce Manufacturing in preparation for the opening of a second station in the coming years in south Marble Falls. The department recently received an $870,000 truck from that same company in June

Cost estimates for a new truck are about $1.2 million.

“They have a program they are doing called the ‘Build-Your-Pierce’ program,” Fire Chief Tommy Crane said. “It has about 40 slots left, which they expect to be used up by the end of this month.”

Build-Your-Pierce takes about 32-36 months as opposed to a 46- to 48-month construction timeline for departments outside of the program.

“If we went with the 32- to 36-month option, (the vehicle) would probably be here a little bit before (Fire) Station No. 2 is actually built, but we could house it at Station No. 1,” Crane said.

He said the move would save the city money.

“Through talking with Pierce, come November, there’ll be another price increase,” Crane said. “Going over to next year, they’re expecting a price increase anywhere from 7-10 percent.”

Financing won’t be necessary until after the truck is delivered.

“We can get in line tomorrow, but we don’t have to finance anything until the delivery date,” Crane said.