Budget Lakeway OK, tax rate

Lakeway City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve a $17.7 million budget for fiscal year 2023 and the lowest tax rate in city history.

The approved tax rate of $0.1290 is 17% lower than last year’s tax rate of $0.1545. City spokesman Jarrod Wise said the change would result in an average $40 reduction in the average homeowner’s annual tax bill. The tax rate without new income, which is the rate that will increase the same amount of property tax income as last year, is also $0.1290.

City officials said the owner of an average home with a assessed value of $692,587 this year will pay about $894 with a property exemption under the proposed tax rate. The owner of an average home worth $604,530 last year paid around $934 with a homestead exemption.

According to the city, the fiscal year 2023 budget projects revenues at $17,659,712 and expenses at $17,824,660.

Officials said the approved budget includes a cost-of-living adjustment for all city positions, three replacement vans and new positions, including an assistant parks manager, media specialist and team leader at the Lakeway Activity Center.

The council also reviewed the fiscal year 2022 financial report as of August 31 and found that the city exceeded the previous year’s budgets by $1,830,054. Due to “salary savings”, the expenditure budget had a lower positive variance than the revenue budget. The City is still looking for a Chief Financial Officer and an Emergency Management Coordinator.

Other items approved by the board included a special use permit for a short-term rental at 154 World of Tennis Square and sharing the cost of a traffic light with The Hills.

Another amendment approved was land use restrictions, shared use streets and paths for the development of the planned Tuscan Village unit. A debate has erupted over whether to make all accommodation available without age limits, thereby overriding the requirement for tenants to be over 55.

The amendment also called for the unbuilt remnant of Lohmans Spur to be increased from two lanes to four lanes, as well as to construct a 10ft concrete shared-use path.

According to the staff report, the zoning and planning committee recommended approval to city council by a vote of 4 to 2 on September 7.

In a public hearing at the council meeting, resident Nina Davis said she hoped the council would not remove the age restriction and families would generate more traffic.

“If you drop the age of 55, it’s going to be a lot denser, a lot more traffic,” Davis said. “It’s also a perfect place for seniors and I would hate for our senior community to be denied that.”

The council voted 4-2 for the amendment, with the stipulation that the chalets will have no age limit but half of the apartments will be restricted to people aged 55 and over.

Toward the end of the meeting, council continued its discussion of the city’s no-truck ordinance and deferred voting on an amendment relating to the operation of golf carts until the October meeting.

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