Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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Austin

Council mulls over $3B budget

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TWC News: Council mulls over $3B budget
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The Austin City Council is combing through details of a $3.1 billion budget.

If passed, it could raise property taxes by an average of $20 a year.

Some at city hall believe a proposed 2.2 cent property tax increase is needed to keep up with growth.

The budget pays for city services like parks, libraries, fire, EMS and police.

A hot button issue has been funding for mitigating wildfire danger inside the city limits.

The Fire Fighters Union is asking council for a wildland division, as well as funding for a program to remove brush in large portions of West Austin.

Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks said the efforts are needed to avoid the fire outbreaks of last year.

"We stopped many fires last year before they got to that point. But we can't run a program on luck,” Nicks said. “We have to have a fuel mitigation program to stop these fires before they get too large."

The Nicks plan is a multi-million dollar proposition. It is not included in the budget as of Monday.

The council has until Wednesday to approve the final budget plan, but it could be stamped as soon as Tuesday.

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