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Like all the other taxing entities in Burnet and Llano counties, the Marble Falls City Council was able to drop its tax rate and increase its budget. 

The new tax rate adopted by councilors at their Sept. 19 meeting is 3.17 percent lower than the current rate, which expires on Sept. 30. When the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, Marble Falls taxpayers will be assessed a rate of $0.54 per $100 valuation to fund an $18.9 million budget, which represents a 19 percent increase from last year’s $15.9 million budget.

The reduction marks the seventh consecutive year the city has lowered its property tax rate.

“We’re getting to where we are lower than some surrounding cities on the (property tax) rate,” Councilor Bryan Walker said.

Taxes have decreased across Burnet County based on higher property valuations from the Burnet Central Appraisal District. Certified tax rolls for the city came in at an 18 percent increase.

Councilors hope to continue to drop the tax rate further in future budget cycles.

“We can’t do anything about the appraisals — I know mine go up 10 percent every year — but we’re trying to trend in the right direction (with the tax rate),” Walker said. “I’m definitely passionate about keeping that progress moving forward.”

To calculate Marble Falls’ overall tax rate, officials combined the city’s maintenance and operations tax rate with the debt service rate. The maintenance and operations tax rate for the new fiscal year is $0.2009. The debt service rate is $0.3391.

Expenditures listed in the new budget include the purchase of an additional 4,000 acre-feet of water from the Lower Colorado River Authority and a new fire truck.

City officials hope to lower expenses during the upcoming fiscal year by incentivizing city water customers to switch from paper to online billing. Finance Director Jeff Lazenby investigated the subject at the request of Mayor Dave Rhodes.

According to Lazenby’s study, the city spends over $25,671 annually, or 68 cents per bill, for the printing, delivery, and processing of paper bills.