Your City, Your Choice
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, 2017, will not be included in the FY 2018 Public Engagement Report.
The Austin Budget Simulator is designed to collect resident input on 11 City service areas that are primarily funded through property tax dollars. Results from the exercise will be compiled and presented to City leadership in the annual Public Engagement Report.The FY 2017-18 Public Engagement Report will be available to the public in August 2017.
This tool will highlight the general operating fund for the City of Austin. The citywide Operating Budget is divided into many funds and service areas, which support day-to-day operations of direct services. One of these funds is the General Fund which includes eleven departments that provide programs, activities, and services directly to the citizens of Austin, as well as to surrounding communities. It is important to note that this tool only asks about direct services provided through the General Fund as opposed to other aspects of the city’s budget. Aspects of the city’s budget, like support functions and most capital improvement projects, are not included in this exercise. The city has additional budgets such as the Capital Budget, which is largely funded by debt, to account for projects to improve facilities and infrastructure assets.
Where does the money come from?
The revenue that supports the General Fund is generated through property and sales taxes, fees, fines, permits, licenses, charges for services, and interest income. The graph below displays the total amount of budgeted revenue attributable to each major revenue category as well as each category’s relative share of total budgeted General Fund revenue in the current approved budget.
Where does the money go?
The Budget Simulator utilizes the General Fund departments’ operating expenditures which total $940.2 million, representing 96.9% of the total General Fund budget. Additional information, including service description and performance data, is provided for each department in the Budget Simulator tool.
*The Transfers and Other Requirements category in the graph below accounts for 3.1% of the total General Fund requirements. This $30.4 million covers economic development activities; facility maintenance and renovations; transfers to cover management expenses for the 311 Call Center and Balcones Canyonlands Nature Preserve; and transfers to other funds such as the Child Safety Fund, the Transportation Fund and the Austin Cable Access Fund to cover a variety of general governmental services.
The Budget Simulator tool allows you to make funding choices that matter to you. Real-time updates will show the impact of your funding choices to the total General Fund Budget. So, if you choose to increase funding in the Parks and Recreation Department, you can see how that will affect the total General Fund Budget. The two charts below shows the amount you currently pay in City of Austin taxes, which differs based on the assessed value of your home. The amount collected with the approved tax rate below generates the property tax revenue listed in the Sources of Funding - General Fund chart above.
The total expenditures for the General Fund may impact the taxes and fees you pay for these services. At the end of the Budget Simulator exercise you can review your choices and make changes before submitting your selections. If the sum of your choices increases the total General Fund Budget, then you could pay more in taxes. Likewise, if the sum of your choices decreases the total General Fund Budget, then you could pay less in taxes.