Finance Administration plans and directs the City’s financial activities. The Department oversees accounting, purchasing, tax collection, billing, financial reporting, debt, and investment management. Finance directs the City’s budgeting process, monitors the long-term financial plan, and prepares related policy recommendations. Additionally, the Department plans City debt issuance, and monitors the City’s utility rates to ensure financial stability of these systems. Finance is also liaison to several boards including the General Government and Finance (GGAF) Advisory Board, the Georgetown Economic Development Corporation (GEDCO), and the Georgetown Transportation Enhancement Corporation (GTEC).
Amended Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Budget
The City of Georgetown budget affects every resident in our City. How we allocate your taxpayer dollars and monthly costs as utility customers determine the level of service you get in return for City functions, like providing electricity, drinking water, resources to respond to emergencies, well-maintained streets, a world-class library, and accessible trails. Because we ask you, our residents, to trust us with your hard-earned income, we asked for your service priorities and made sure the budget reflected them.
The Georgetown City Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2021 budget on Sept. 22, 2020, and an amended budget Jan. 26, 2021. The original budget of $396 million is a $41 million, or 10%, decrease over the original FY2020 budget. The change is due to the timing of large capital projects. The amended FY2021 budget totals $537 million, and includes rolling forward dollars for multi-year large capital infrastructure projects. The budget decreases the City’s property tax rate by $0.002, making it the lowest of all cities in the Austin area with a population greater than 20,000. The average homestead property in Georgetown decreased in taxable value by 2.3 percent, down from $284,765 in FY2020 to $278,001 in FY2021. Coupled with the decrease in the property tax rate, it is anticipated the average homeowner in Georgetown will pay $34 less in property tax in the upcoming year. The adopted budget did not change from the proposed budget, which is linked below. The adopted budget book will be available in early 2021.
The overall focus of the FY2021 budget is to preserve and maintain City services, in response both to continued growth and uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic. It addresses public and Council priorities through utility and transportation infrastructure development, public safety improvements, long-range planning initiatives, economic development achievements, and sustaining City service levels. The budget takes a conservative outlook for the next fiscal year, with the overall budget coming in 10 percent lower than the adopted FY2020 budget. The General Fund, which pays for several, critical services like public safety, streets, library services, and parks and recreation, increased about 3.7 percent – lower than the city’s population growth of 7.2 percent.
The amended FY21 budget increases the General Fund by revenue by $3.6 million and expenses by $1.72 million. The combination of conservative budgeting and strong performances both in Fiscal Year 2020 and the first quarter of the current fiscal year allowed the City to adjust the budget to reflect Council and community priorities. The amendments included eight new positions to help address increased workload because of growth, additional funding for new trash-related services, and fully funding market pay increases for public safety employees.
Other highlights in the amended budget include the following:
- 15.5 new positions, including staff for Fire Station No. 7 and two police officers
- 14 frozen positions, for at least part of the year
- $1 million in cuts to department budgets, including less funding for training, travel, and supplies
- Competitive employee compensation and benefits, including market and merit raises for non-civil service employees, and market increases and annual step for public safety employees
- $77.4 million in capital improvement projects, including investments in transportation, water and wastewater, electric, and the public safety complex.
- Council discretionary funds for one-time uses, including small area plan development for the Track Ridge Grasshopper and San Jose neighborhoods
- Initiating design for improvements to D.B. Wood Road, the last, large project from the 2015 bond.
- Increased sanitation rates to help pay for increased costs with Texas Disposal Systems, reconstruction of the transfer station, and improvements to the household hazardous waste program