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Colleen Pate
Posts: 135
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2023 1:22 pm


Post by Colleen Pate »


As I mentioned at the Work Session, I’m including an updated FY25 Budget timeline as an attachment to this message board post (see below).

Last year, we had good success navigating the budget process by starting with a timeline and I think it would help to do it again.

The outline below, as noted, is to help and assure transparency both for us and for the public. Like anything, it won’t be perfect and there will be need for some flexibility as we go along. We also will need to get input from our new City Manager. But, the goal is to create a clear path with limited surprises. As I said, I have discussed this outline with the budget office to assure it’s workable from that office’s perspective.

Here’s the outline:

Friday, July 12th, 2024

We will hold a work session at which the City Manager and his team will present the budget to Mayor and Council. After the Manager and his team complete their full presentation, we will have the opportunity to ask questions.

The City Manager will also file the draft budget with the City Clerk, and it will be delivered to the Mayor and Council Members.

July 12th will mark the launch of the Council Budget Questions (CBQs) process. This is a public facing process. The public will see the questions and answers. The Q & A will be a continuous process.

Questions from Council may be submitted to FSDBUDGETANDPERFORMANCE@AUSTINTEXAS.GOV

Wednesday, July 24th, 2024:

We will hold a work session focused on the City’s General Fund. The meeting will begin with public comment at 10:00 am. Public comment is not limited to the General Fund; it can be about any aspect of the budget.

Following the public comment, we will have a staff presentation and Council discussion of the General Fund. Again, this is meant to be a session to allow staff briefings (and council questions) on topics of specific interest to members to get complete discussion and understanding.

Tuesday, July 30th, 2024:

We will hold a work session focused on Enterprise Funds and CIP. Again, we will have a staff presentation followed by Council discussion, including any briefings and council questions that are desired.

Thursday, August 1st, 2024:

We will conduct a public hearing on the budget and hear public comment on the maximum tax rate at 3:00pm.

We will also set the maximum tax rate at this meeting. Please note: Setting the maximum tax rate is a requirement of the state’s Truth in Taxation process in which the city’s governing body publicly declares what maximum property tax rate it will consider for the upcoming budget process (by a vote of the governing body). Historically, the city has set this maximum tax rate at the voter-approval rate—the highest property tax rate the city may adopt without triggering an election.

Monday, August 5th, 2024:

I’m requesting that we set a goal of filing all proposed Budget Amendments and Budget IFCs by Monday, August 5th at 6:00 pm.

The goal is to allow for us to all have a feel for potential amendments and IFCs so that there’s more transparency for us and the public, sufficient time to allow staff to prepare fiscal notes for our proposals so that we will be able to determine budget impacts, and increase efficiency. Please see the post about August 8th below. I’m suggesting the filing of proposed amendments and IFCs on the 5th so that we can walk through them on the 8th.

Proposed budget amendments can be filed with Katie Stewart in the Budget Office at katie.stewart@austintexas.gov

Proposed budget IFCs can be filed with Catie Powers in the Agenda Office at catie.powers@austintexas.gov.

“Budget Amendments” are items where a Council Member seeks to amend an appropriation in the budget. This could be by increasing it, reducing it or eliminating it. The amendment will need to be drafted like we do amendments in the ordinary course so that it will flow into the body of the main motion (the Budget Ordinance).

“Budget IFCs” are items from a Council Member that address policy that a member wishes to be made as part of the budget process. That includes direction to the City Manager and our professional staff. The procedures we use for IFCs generally will apply. For example, an IFC will need four sponsors.

To assure transparency and openness, Budget Amendments and Budget IFCs need to be in writing. This process will allow each of us to have a good idea of what to expect and not be surprised. It will also be good for the public and staff to know what is being contemplated.

The FY25 Budget Amendment form will be sent to Mayor and Council by the Financial Services Department with instructions in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, August 6th, 2024:

We may not need this date. But we’ll leave it for now. It might allow Council Members and staff to review proposed Budget Amendments and IFCs in anticipation of the August 8th Work Session. However, canceling it will allow staff time to prepare fiscal analysis of the proposals.

Thursday, August 8th, 2024:

We will have a work session. The purpose is to have each Council Member publicly lay out any proposed Budget Amendments and/or Budget IFCs. This will allow members to ask questions, provide comments and, in some cases, determine if we have redundant proposals or proposals that could be consolidated. The plan is to also have as many fiscal notes as possible from staff to assist in our analysis and discussion.

Wednesday August 14th - Friday, August 16th, 2024:

We will vote on the budget. I will call for a motion and second to adopt the budget.

After that, we will take up each proposed Budget Amendment and Budget IFC that has been pre-submitted and discussed. My plan is to take these items up in this order: 1) amendments that generate revenue; 2) revenue neutral amendments; and 3) amendments that require an additional expenditure, beginning with those carrying the highest fiscal notes.

We will then consider Budget IFCs. My plan is to take up Budget IFCs once the budget is adopted since IFCs do not impact the budget numbers but are policy matters.

Adopting the FY25 Budget is one of the most important decisions this Council will make. I hope by outlining the timeline and process, we can work in an efficient and collaborative manner while achieving our shared goal of making the City of Austin a great place to live, work and thrive for all members of our community.

Thank you,

Posted on behalf of Mayor Watson
Chief of Staff, Mayor Watson's Office
Alison Alter
Posts: 221
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:52 pm

Re: FY25

Post by Alison Alter »

Kirk, thank you for the outline above.

I would like to ensure that members of the public are aware that the Thursday, August 1st budget hearing that begins at 3 p.m. will be able to accommodate speakers who intend to testify after their workday concludes. In advance of the start of the budget season, it would be beneficial if staff and/or the Mayor's office could provide clear guidance on how they might do so. Every voice is important and our budget process should make it easy to testify on the budget.

Council Member, District 10