UPDATE! The Budget Simulator will remain open at this time to allow interested residents to continue engaging with the tool and learning about the City of Austin's Budget. Please note that responses received after July 15th, 2016, will not be included in the FY 2017 Public Engagement Report.
Thank you for participating in the City of Austin’s budget process. The Budget Simulator is designed to collect resident input on City services, from trash collection to parks and pools. Through this tool, you can provide valuable feedback on 11 service categories. To indicate you would like more services in a particular area, you may choose to increase funding by 5% or 10%. To see services remain the same, you may choose to maintain the current funding level. For fewer services in a particular area, you may choose to decrease funding by 5% or 10%. Any time you want more information about a service area, click the i next to the service name. This will take you to an information page with a description of the service, particular aspects of the service, and performance data.
For detailed instructions on how to complete this activity, select More info:
The first step in the activity is to estimate your annual combined property tax and utility bill to provide a representation of what you pay every year toward each of the service areas included in the exercise. This information enables the Budget Simulator to show you in real time how your funding choices for each service area will impact your annual combined City of Austin property tax and utility bills. This calculation is an estimate, so it will not be exact. Please note that for the property tax portion, the number may look low. That is because only about 21% of your total property tax bill goes to the City of Austin. The rest goes to other jurisdictions, like your school district or county.
Your estimated annual City of Austin property tax bill is determined by the assessed value of your home. If you are a homeowner, enter your assessed property value provided by your County appraisal district. If you don’t own a home or are not sure of your property’s current assessed value, you can use the median non-senior homestead assessed property value of $251,994, look up the assessed value of your property through Travis County Appraisal District or Williamson County Appraisal District websites, or input the value of your choice. For example, if you are a renter, you can input the estimated property value of your house or unit.
After the Budget Simulator calculates your estimated property tax bill, it adds that value to the total annual utility bill for a Typical Residential Rate Payer. Together, these two values make up your combined annual tax and utility bill, which will be used in the exercise.
The Typical Residential Rate Payer is defined as follows:
- Austin Energy – $1,254.84 (Residential customer usage of 1,000 Kwh)
- Austin Water – $932.52 (Residential customer usage of 5,600 gallons of water and 4,000 gallons of wastewater)
- Austin Resource Recovery – $279.60 (Residential customer using 64-gallon cart)
- Clean Community Fee – $91.80 (Per single-family home)
- Transportation User Fee – $117.24 (Per single-family home)
- Drainage User Fee – $130.32 (Residential customer with 3,100 sq. ft./37% of impervious cover)
Total Annual Impact – $2,806.32
After calculating the estimated amount you pay the City every year in property taxes and utility bills, you can click through 11 categories, each with specific service areas where you can make the funding choices that matter to you. Real-time updates will show the impact of your funding choices on your estimated annual combined property tax and utility bill. So, if you choose to increase funding in the Pools & Aquatic Programming service area, you can see how that will effect what you pay every year.
At the end of the exercise you can review your choices and make changes before submitting your selections.
It is important to note that this tool only asks about direct services, so there are aspects of the city’s budget, like support functions and most capital improvement projects, which are not included in this exercise. The citywide Operating Budget is divided into many funds and service areas, which supports day-to-day operations of direct services. The citywide Capital Budget funds projects to improve facilities and infrastructure assets for the benefit of its citizens, which is largely funded by debt. This tool will highlight a majority of the Operating Budget funds and service areas, services funded by rates, and the capital projects funded through the Watershed Department.