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[1. Presentation of the City Manager's Proposed Budget]

[00:00:09]

I'M GOING TO INTRODUCE MICHELLE ROJAS, WHO WILL KICK THIS OFF FOR US, BUT THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, MICHELLE.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

UH, WHY KNOWS THE ASS? I AM MICHELLE ROJAS, THE CULTURE AND ARTS EDUCATION MANAGER AT THE EMMA S BARRIENTOS MEXICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER.

I AM SO PROUD TO WELCOME YOU ALL HERE AT THIS SITE WHERE I BEGAN MY CAREER WITH THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

I BEGAN MY JOURNEY 11 YEARS AGO HERE AT THE MONTOPOLIS RECREATION CENTER.

I MOVED FROM CALIFORNIA.

YES, I'M ONE OF THOSE NOT KNOWING MUCH ABOUT AUSTIN AND THE NEIGHBORHOODS.

HONESTLY, I HAD SOME HUGE SHOES TO FILL IN MY NEW POSITION, BUT QUICKLY GREW TO KNOW AND LOVE THE COMMUNITY, A COMMUNITY RICH WITH HISTORY AND EAGER TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED FOR EIGHT YEARS.

THIS WAS MY HOME.

I MET SO MANY WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT TALKED ABOUT THE VIBRANT HISTORY OF MONTOPOLIS, BUT ALSO PEOPLE THAT FELT LEFT BEHIND.

AT TIMES, WE WORKED TOGETHER ON THE PLANS FOR THIS SITE AND ENVISION A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR THE FAMILIES OF MONTOPOLIS OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADVANCEMENT CAME AND WENT.

THANKS TO GREAT MANAGERS AND MENTORS THAT BELIEVED IN ME, ONE OF THOSE OPPORTUNITIES WAS TO MANAGE THE MEXICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER, WHERE MY PASSION FOR SERVING COMMUNITIES EXPANDED WITH PROGRAMS THAT WOULD NOW BE HELD FOR CITY-WIDE AUDIENCE.

MY JOB BEGAN DURING THE PANDEMIC, BUT WITH THE HELP OF GREAT EMPLOYEES, WE WERE STILL ABLE TO PROVIDE CULTURALLY RELEVANT PROGRAMMING TO THE COMMUNITY.

WE HAVE ALL COLLECTIVELY HAD TO OVERCOME MANY CHALLENGES.

THESE PAST TWO YEARS, THESE CHALLENGES HAVE TAUGHT ME THAT WE ARE RESILIENT AND THAT WE ONLY BY BUILDING CONNECTIONS, CAN WE OVERCOME DIFFICULTIES IN THE PARKS DEPARTMENT? WE HAVE A SAYING WE BUILD COMMUNITY AND WE CAN'T DO THAT WITHOUT THE PARTICIPATION OF ALL OF YOU.

WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, I'D LIKE TO PRESENT CITY MANAGER, SPENCER CRANK, WHO WILL TELL US MORE ABOUT HOW WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO CONTINUE BUILDING COMMUNITY IN THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR.

THANK YOU.

WELL, GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

WE HAD SOME RAIN LAST NIGHT.

THAT WAS VERY NICE TO SEE.

I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE AND THANK YOU, MICHELLE, FOR THAT VERY KIND INTRODUCTION CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS, CITY EMPLOYEES, AND HONORED GUESTS.

THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE.

WE'VE CHOSEN TO PRESENT OUR PROPOSED FISCAL YEAR 23 BUDGET HERE AT THE MONTOPOLIS RECREATION AND COMMUNITY CENTER FOR A COUPLE OF IMPORTANT REASONS.

THE FIRST REASON IS THAT THIS FACILITY TO ME REPRESENTS WHAT THE BEST OF AUSTIN CAN ACHIEVE.

WHEN WE WORK TOGETHER WITH THE COMMUNITY, WE SERVE SOME OF YOU KNOW, THAT THE ORIGINAL RECREATION CENTER LOCATED ON THIS SITE SERVE THEM AND TOPLESS COMMUNITY FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS.

BUT AFTER THE ORIGINAL BUILDING FELL INTO DISREPAIR IN 2012, AUSTIN VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVED BOND FUNDS TO CONSTRUCT A NEW FACILITY.

AND AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF GATHERING EXTENSIVE INPUTS, WE BROKE GROUND IN 2018 ON THE COMMUNITY'S VISION FOR THIS BUILDING, A PLACE THAT IS NO LONGER SIMPLY A RECREATION CENTER, BUT IS NOW A HUB FOR HEALTH, FOR EDUCATION.

AND FOR OPPORTUNITY TO ME, THIS PLACE, ISN'T JUST BEAUTIFUL.

IT ALSO REPRESENTS A BEAUTIFUL SET OF IDEALS.

IT SHOWS WHAT WE CAN DO WHEN WE TRULY EMBRACE OUR ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES OF EQUITY, INNOVATION, SUSTAINABILITY, AND COMMUNITY.

TRUST THOSE VALUES.

SOME OF THE EXACT VALUES PRIORITIZED BY THE CITY COUNCIL INSTITUTE, STRATEGIC DIRECTION, 2023 PLAN ARE CENTRAL TO OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS ORGANIZATION.

IN FACT, EVERY BUDGET THAT OUR TEAM HAS PROPOSED TO THE CITY COUNCIL OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS HAS BEEN BUILT AROUND THOSE VALUES, BUT THIS BUILDING ITSELF AND WHAT IT REPRESENTS IS ACTUALLY THE SECOND, MOST IMPORTANT REASON.

WE'VE INVITED YOU HERE TODAY BECAUSE ULTIMATELY THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF THIS AMAZING PLACE, JUST LIKE THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF LITERALLY EVERYTHING WE AIM TO DO AS CITY GOVERNMENT RELIES ENTIRELY ON THE PEOPLE WHO WORK HERE, THERE IS NO COMMUNITY CENTER.

THIS ONE INCLUDED THAT CAN DELIVER ON ITS PROMISE

[00:05:01]

WITHOUT DEDICATED ENGAGED STAFF WHO SHOW UP EVERY DAY AND DO THE WORK.

THERE IS NO AUSTIN PARK OR LIBRARY OR PUBLIC HEALTH CENTER OR ANIMAL SHELTER OR FIRE STATION THAT DOESN'T RELY TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY ON A CITY EMPLOYEE TO SHOW UP EVERY DAY AND DO THE WORK WE'RE HERE IN THIS PLACE TODAY, PRIMARILY TO RECOGNIZE THE FACT THAT OUR EMPLOYEES DON'T JUST PLAY A ROLE IN WHAT WE DO AS AN ORGANIZATION.

THEY LITERALLY ARE THE ORGANIZATION, BUT I WANT TO GO A STEP BEYOND SIMPLY TELLING YOU HOW IMPORTANT OUR EMPLOYEES ARE.

I WANT TO SHOW YOU, WE ARE HONORED TO BE JOINED HERE TODAY BY A GROUP OF CITY EMPLOYEES WHO EXEMPLIFIED THE EXTRAORDINARY DEDICATION SHOWN EVERY DAY BY SO MANY OF OUR STAFF AND WHO REPRESENT A STANDARD OF SERVICE THAT WE ASPIRE TO MAINTAIN AND BUILD ON.

AS WE MOVE INTO THE FUTURE, I WANT TO ASK ALL OF OUR CITY EMPLOYEES WHO ARE HERE WITH US TODAY TO PLEASE RAISE YOUR HANDS.

SO WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE.

AND EVERY ONE OF YOU HAS A SPECIAL STORY WE COULD TELL, BUT IN THE INTEREST OF TIME, I WANT TO SHARE JUST A FEW FIRST, PLEASE MEET CORINA.

KAMARA IS KOREAN A HERE, CAN YOU RAISE YOUR HAND? THANK YOU.

CORRINA CORRINA IS A HOUSING AND PLANNING ADMINISTRATIVE SPECIALIST AND PLAYS AN EXTRAORDINARY BEHIND THE SCENES ROLE IN OUR EFFORT TO SUPPORT AUSTINITES WHO TURNS THE CITY DURING AN EMERGENCY TO FIND STABLE HOUSING.

NEXT WE'RE JOINED BY OOMA GARBA OOMA.

IF YOU COULD RAISE YOUR HAND.

OOMA IS A COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CONSULTANT IN OUR COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE AND WORKS TO ENSURE THAT DEPARTMENTS ALL ACROSS THE CITY ARE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE IN THE MANY LANGUAGES THAT AUSTINITES SPEAK.

WE'RE ALSO PLEASED TO HAVE WITH US.

LAUREN'S FABIAN, A HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATION OPERATOR WITH OUR TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT.

LAWRENCE HAS BEEN AN INVALUABLE TO THE SUCCESS OF COUNTLESS ROAD AND SIDEWALK IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS ALL ACROSS OUR COMMUNITY.

HE WAS ALSO BY THE WAY, PART OF A WORK CREW WHO RECENTLY NOTICED A LITTLE GIRL WANDERING, LOST, AND IMMEDIATELY ASSISTED APD AND GETTING HER HOME SAFELY.

THANK YOU, LAWRENCE AND FINALLY, I WANT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO YVONNE AND BOSS, A CASE MANAGER WITH A DOWNTOWN AUSTIN COMMUNITY COURT.

THERE'S SO MANY INSPIRING STORIES TO TELL ABOUT OUR PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENTS, BUT THE IMPORTANT ROLE THAT THE DOWNTOWN AUSTIN COMMUNITY COURT PLAYS AND KEEPING AUSTIN SAFE IS OFTEN UNDER-RECOGNIZED AND YVONNE, YVONNE IS RIGHT AT THE CENTER OF IT, FOCUSED ON SERVING PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY, EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS AND DOING IT WITH GREAT SKILL AND GREAT KINDNESS.

THANKS TO EACH OF YOU FOR BEING HERE TODAY AND TO BE RECOGNIZED.

I WANT TO PERSONALLY THANK YOU ALONG WITH ALL OF OUR CITY EMPLOYEES, FOR THE COMMITMENT THAT YOU SHOW TO YOUR JOBS EVERY DAY.

AND I WANT TO TELL YOU ALL HOW PROUD I AM OF THE WORK THAT YOU DO.

AND I WANT TO ASK US CITY COUNCIL AND ALL OF OUR OTHER GUESTS HERE TODAY TO JOIN ME IN ANOTHER ROUND OF APPLAUSE.

THANK YOU ALL.

NOW, ONE OF THE REASONS I ASKED THESE GREAT EMPLOYEES TO JOIN US HERE TODAY WAS TO GIVE SOME CONTEXT TO THE INVESTMENTS THAT I BELIEVE WE NEED TO MAKE RIGHT NOW TO SAFEGUARD THE FUTURE OF THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

BECAUSE IN THE WAKE OF THE PANDEMIC, JUST LIKE SO MANY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS, OUR CITY GOVERNMENT TODAY FACES A MISSION CRITICAL CHALLENGE.

WHEN IT COMES TO MAINTAINING OUR WORKFORCE AND SUSTAINING THE HIGH QUALITY OF SERVICES OUR RESIDENTS HAVE COME TO EXPECT.

IN FACT, I WOULD GO FURTHER THAN CALLING IT JUST A CHALLENGE.

UNFORTUNATELY, I THINK IT'S FAIR TO SAY THAT WE ARE HEADED IN THE DIRECTION OF A CRISIS.

THE SIMPLE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT WE CURRENTLY DO NOT HAVE THE STAFF THAT WE NEED TO DELIVER THE SERVICES THAT WE MUST FOR THAT REASON AND OTHERS.

THE CORE FEATURE OF OUR FISCAL YEAR 23 BUDGET IS A RENEWED EMPHASIS ON ENSURING THAT AS WE MOVE INTO THE FUTURE, WE ARE IN A POSITION TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN THE PEOPLE WE NEED TO DO THE JOB THAT OUR COMMUNITY EXPECTS US.

I'LL COME BACK TO THAT IN DETAIL, THE SPECIFIC WORKFORCE INVESTMENTS THAT WE'RE PROPOSING FOR FISCAL YEAR 23 IN JUST A MOMENT.

BUT FIRST I WANT TO ZOOM OUT AND DO THREE THINGS.

SHARE WITH YOU THE BIGGER PICTURE OF HOW WE'VE ARRIVED AT THIS YEAR'S BUDGET PROPOSAL, HIGHLIGHT OUR OVERALL FINANCIAL POSITION NOW IN MOVING FORWARD.

AND FINALLY TELL YOU ABOUT OUR PROPOSED PLAN FOR NEXT YEAR, IN TERMS OF PROCESS.

AS I SAID, A MOMENT AGO, EVERY YEAR, SINCE I'VE SERVED AS CITY MANAGER, WE'VE DEVELOPED OUR BUDGETS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRIORITIES OF THE AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL SET FORTH IN THE STRATEGIC DIRECTION, 2023 PLAN.

[00:10:01]

WHAT WE CALL SD 23 AS THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL KNOW VERY WELL, ESTABLISHES SIX PRIORITY OUTCOME AREAS AROUND WHICH WE HAVE ORGANIZED OUR OPERATIONS, SET OUR PRIORITIES AND DEVELOPED OUR BUDGETS SINCE ADOPTING THE FIRST ITERATION OF THE PLAN BACK IN 2018.

THESE SIX OUTCOME AREAS ESTABLISHED BY SD TWENTY-THREE ARE ECONOMIC AFFORDABILITY AND OPPORTUNITY MOBILITY, SAFETY, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT, CULTURE AND LIFELONG LEARNING AND GOVERNMENT THAT WORKS FOR ALL.

NOW WHILE SD 23 WAS INTENDED TO GIVE OUR CITY GOVERNMENT ONGOING FOCUS AND A STRONGER SENSE OF SHARED PRIORITIES.

IT WAS ALSO ENVISIONED TO BE A LIVING DOCUMENT, A SET OF GUIDELINES AND STRATEGIES THAT WOULD EVOLVE AS THE COUNCIL PERCEIVED THE NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY TO BE EVOLVING FOR THAT REASON.

WE'VE COME BACK TO COUNCIL A FEW TIMES SINCE 2018, MOST RECENTLY IN FEBRUARY OF THIS YEAR TO ASK FOR UPDATED GUIDANCE AND TO ENSURE THAT OUR LONG-TERM PLANS, ESPECIALLY AS ARE REFLECTED IN OUR BUDGET PROPOSALS, CONTINUE TO SYNC WITH WHAT OUR COMMUNITY WANTS.

SO WHILE THE UPDATED SD 23 WAS ONCE AGAIN, OUR MAIN GUIDE IN DEVELOPING THIS PROPOSED BUDGET, WE ALSO CHOSE THIS YEAR TO LAYER IN A NEW APPROACH THAT WAS SIMPLY TO ASK EACH OF OUR DEPARTMENTS TO PRIORITIZE WHAT THEY BELIEVED WERE THEIR MOST CRITICAL UNMET NEEDS.

IN ADDITION, AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO, WE HAVE ASKED THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE, AS WELL AS THE HUNDREDS OF CITIZEN VOLUNTEERS WHO SERVE ON OUR BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS TO PROVIDE THEIR PERSPECTIVE AND SUGGESTIONS THUS BASED ON GUIDANCE FROM COUNCIL INPUT, FROM STAFF SUGGESTIONS, FROM THE COMMUNITY, AND LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF HOURS OF WORK BY OUR BUDGET STAFF, OUR FISCAL YEAR 23 BUDGET PROPOSAL REFLECTS WHAT WE BELIEVE IS A CLEAR CONSENSUS.

I WOULD CHARACTERIZE THAT CONSENSUS AND OUR RESULTING PROPOSAL AS EMPHASIZING THE MEAT AND POTATOES OF CITY GOVERNMENT THAT IS CONTINUED INVESTMENTS IN THE BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE OF CITY OPERATIONS, ALONGSIDE A HANDFUL OF STRATEGIC EXPENDITURES DESIGNED TO ADDRESS EMERGING COMMUNITY CHALLENGES.

BUT LET ME BE CLEAR.

WE'RE ONLY IN THE ENVIABLE POSITION OF DISCUSSING HOW WE'RE PROPOSING TO INVEST IN THIS COMMUNITY RATHER THAN HOW TO CUT SERVICES BY VIRTUE OF TWO FACTORS.

FIRST IS THE CITY'S DEDICATION OVER THE COURSE OF MANY YEARS, TO PRUDENT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, BOTH COUNCIL AND STAFF HAVE BEEN ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AND RESPONSIBLE WITH OUR RESOURCES CONSISTENTLY MAINTAINING A HEALTHY LEVEL OF RESERVES WHILE CONTINUALLY LOOKING TO PINE MORE AND NEW COST-EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF OUR COMMUNITY.

SECOND IS THAT AUSTIN'S ECONOMY CONTINUES TO PERFORM SPECTACULARLY LIKE EVERYONE.

WE EXPERIENCED A SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC DOWNTURN DURING THE PANDEMIC, BUT THE FACT IS AUSTIN'S ECONOMY HAS COME ROARING BACK TO LIFE SUCH THAT THIS YEAR WE ARE ON TRACK TO SEE A PROJECTED 16% INCREASE IN SALES TAX REVENUE OVER LAST YEARS WITH SEATS IN CONTRAST TO THE PANDEMIC EXPERIENCE OF OTHER CITIES.

THESE TWO FACTORS ARE LONG TIME FISCAL PRUDENCE AND OUR FUNDAMENTALLY STRONG LOCAL ECONOMY HAVE ALLOWED US OVER THE PAST TWO AND A HALF YEARS TO MAINTAIN OUR SERVICE LEVELS, TO AVOID EMPLOYEE FURLOUGHS AND TO ACTUALLY BOLSTER OUR RESERVES.

AND INSTEAD OF HAVING TO USE FEDERAL FUNDING TO PLUG HOLES IN OUR NORMAL OPERATING BUDGET, WE'VE USED THE LION'S SHARE TO FURTHER ADDRESS PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY, ECONOMIC RECOVERY, AND TRANSFORMATIONAL PROJECTS FOR OUR COMMUNITY.

SO ARE WE LUCKY IN SOME WAYS? YEAH, WE ARE, BUT HAVE WE ALSO MADE GOOD DECISIONS? I THINK WE HAVE, AND IF YOU CAN BE BOTH LUCKY AND GOOD, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT, BUT THIS IS NOT TO SUGGEST THAT WE FACE NO OBSTACLES AS COUNCIL KNOWS VERY WELL.

SINCE 2019, WE'VE BEEN OPERATING UNDER A STATE MANDATED THREE AND A HALF PERCENT CAP ON PROPERTY TAX REVENUE INCREASES, ESPECIALLY FOR A CITY WHOSE POPULATION AND RESULTING DEMAND FOR SERVICES HAS GROWN AS FAST AS AUSTIN'S WHAT THAT THREE THREE-AND-A-HALF PERCENT CAP HAS MEANT IS THAT WE'VE BEEN OBLIGATED TO MAKE SOME FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES IN THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS SIMPLY TO COVER ANNUAL INCREASES IN OUR BASE COST DRIVERS, THINGS LIKE WAGES, RENT, AND HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS. AND WHILE I CAN HAPPILY REPORT THAT WE HAVE SUCCEEDED AS AN ORGANIZATION IN MAKING MANY OF THOSE CHANGES OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, IT'S ALSO CLEAR THAT THERE'S MORE WORK TO DO AND THAT THE STATE REVENUE CAP WILL CONTINUE TO PRESENT SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES FOR US MOVING FORWARD.

BUT FOR NOW OUR FINANCIAL FOOTING, EVEN THE REVENUE CAP IN PLACE, THIS FUNDAMENTALLY STRONG, FURTHER, I'M PLEASED TO SHARE WITH YOU TODAY THAT THE ROAD AHEAD ALSO APPEARS FAVORABLE.

IN FACT,

[00:15:01]

FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE PANDEMIC HITS AND THE STATE REVENUE CAP HAS BEEN IN PLACE, OUR FIVE-YEAR PROJECTION PREDICATED ON ANTICIPATED GROWTH IN OUR BASE EXPENSES AND A PROPERTY TAX REVENUE INCREASES OF THREE AND A HALF PERCENT PER YEAR INDICATES BALANCED BUDGETS OVER EACH OF THE NEXT FOUR YEARS AND ONLY A NOMINAL DEFICIT IN YEAR FIVE.

OBVIOUSLY THESE ARE ONLY PROJECTIONS AND GIVEN THE TUMULTUOUS FEW YEARS THAT WE'VE ALL LIVED THROUGH, I THINK WE WOULD BE WISE TO EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

HOWEVER, BASED ON WHAT WE KNOW NOW, I WOULD SAY THAT OUR NERD NEAR-TERM FUTURE HOLDS THE PROMISE OF FINANCIAL STABILITY.

THAT WAS DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE EVEN 12 MONTHS AGO.

SO LET ME BRING US BACK TO TODAY AND OUR PROPOSAL FOR FISCAL YEAR OF 23, 23, HERE'S THE LAY OF THE LAND.

FIRST, I'M PLEASED TO TELL YOU THAT OUR GENERAL FUND BUDGET COVERS BASE OPERATIONAL COSTS AND MAINTAIN SERVICE LEVELS AND MAKES A SERIES OF STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS ALL WHILE MAINTAINING OUR RESERVES AT THE 14% LEVEL.

AND THAT'S ALL GOOD NEWS IN TERMS OF THE OVERALL NUMBERS, OUR GENERAL FUND PROPOSAL TOTALS 1.3 BILLION, THE LARGEST PORTION OF OUR PROPOSED BUDGET, APPROXIMATELY 62% OR AROUND 785 MILLION IS ALLOCATED TO PUBLIC SAFETY, 35% TO POLICE, 18% TO FIRE AND 9% TO EMERGENCY SERVICES, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND COMPANY ENCOMPASSING COURT SERVICES, ANIMAL SERVICES, FAMILY HEALTH SERVICES, AND MANAGING THE CITY'S LIBRARIES AND PARKS ACCOUNT FOR ABOUT 28% OF THE GENERAL FUND OR 351 MILLION IN FISCAL YEAR 23, FORENSIC SCIENCE NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING, AFFORDABLE HOUSING EFFORTS AND ZONING FUNCTIONS ACCOUNT FOR AN ADDITIONAL 2.5% OF THE GENERAL FUND OR 20 OR 32 MILLION.

THE REMAINING AMOUNTS, APPROXIMATELY 8% AROUND 97 MILLION IS SLATED FOR TRANSFERS TO FUND A RANGE OF OTHER INVESTMENTS AND SERVICES.

BUT BEFORE I TELL YOU ABOUT SOME OF THOSE, LET ME GET STRAIGHT TO THE QUESTION THAT I KNOW IS A PRIMARY CONCERN TO MANY OF YOU.

AND THAT IS WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF OUR BUDGET PROPOSAL ON RATE PAYERS? LET ME START BY SAYING THAT I'M VERY WELL AWARE THAT FINANCIAL PRESSURES ARE FRONT AND CENTER ON THE MIND OF MANY.

AUSTINITES THE COST OF LIVING IN OUR CITY, LIKE IN ALL OTHER FAST GROWING CITIES ACROSS AMERICA HAS BEEN RISING RAPIDLY, HOUSING, FOOD, GAS, AND OTHER EXPENSES ARE GOING UP UP AND UP.

WE GET IT.

AND I WANT TO ASSURE YOU THAT WE ARE FOCUSED ALL THE TIME ON MAXIMIZING THE SERVICES WE CAN PROVIDE TO OUR COMMUNITY WHILE MINIMIZING THE IMPACT WE HAVE ON RATE PAYERS WITH THAT SAID, EVEN WITH OUR FAVORABLE FINANCIAL POSITION AND INCREASED SALES TAX REVENUE, THE ONGOING REVENUE RESTRAINTS IMPOSED ON US BY THE STATE PRESENT BIG CHALLENGES IN DELIVERING SERVICES THAT OUR COMMUNITY DEMANDS WHILE ALSO MAINTAINING OUR SOLID FINANCIAL FOOTING FOR THE LONGTERM.

SO OUR BUDGET PROPOSAL FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 23, CONTEMPLATES THAT COMBINED YEAR OVER YEAR INCREASE IN CITY TAXES AND FEES OF ABOUT 2.7% FOR THE TYPICAL RATE PAYER THAT EQUATES TO ROUGHLY $10 IN ADDITIONAL MONTHLY COSTS.

THIS ACTUALLY REFLECTS A DECREASE IN THE CITY'S PROPORTION OF RESIDENTS, PROPERTY TAX BILL, BUT AN INCREASE IN A NUMBER OF OUR OTHER RATES AND FEES, INCLUDING FOR ELECTRICITY, TRASH COLLECTION AND TRANSPORTATION SERVICES TO ADDRESS OUR GROWING DEMANDS AND COSTS.

AS I SAID, WE WERE ALWAYS MINDFUL OF THE IMPACT ON OUR POCKET BOOKS OF AUSTINITES, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT EFFECTIVE CITY GOVERNMENT IS CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS FINANCIALLY AND OTHERWISE OF OUR WHOLE COMMUNITY.

AND WE WILL ENDEAVOR TO CONTINUE TO STRIKE THAT RIGHT BALANCE.

SO THE NEXT QUESTION IS WHAT'S THE MONEY FOR, I MENTIONED BEFORE THAT THE BULK OF OUR PROPOSED GENERAL FUND INVESTMENTS FOR FISCAL YEAR 23 ARE DEDICATED TO THE BASICS OF CITY GOVERNMENT, THE MEAT AND POTATOES, FRANKLY, THESE INVESTMENTS ARE UNLIKELY TO MAKE ANY HEADLINES, BUT THEY ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO ENSURING OUR LONGTERM RESILIENCE.

AS AN ORGANIZATION.

A FEW EXAMPLES INCLUDE A SIGNIFICANT PROPOSED INVESTMENT IN CYBERSECURITY, BUILDING OUT OUR HUMAN RESOURCES, STAFF, OUR FINANCIAL SERVICES TEAMS, OUR CITY CLERK STAFF, AND OUR AUDITOR'S OFFICE, AND INVESTING MORE IN FACILITY MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT TO BETTER PROTECT OUR ASSETS OVER THE LONGTERM.

WE ARE ALSO PROPOSING TO CREATE A CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT DELIVERY TEAM TO STREAMLINE OUR INTERNAL DEVELOPMENT AND REVIEW PROCESS SO THAT CITY PROJECTS CAN COME ONLINE FASTER AND MORE COST EFFICIENTLY.

NOW, AS I NOTED EARLIER, OUR PLAN TO MAKE SOME STRATEGIC

[00:20:01]

ONE-TIME EXPENDITURES TO ADDRESS EMERGENCY COMMUNITY CHALLENGES, ESPECIALLY THOSE PRIORITIZED BY THE COUNCIL AND THE CONTEXT OF CLEARLY, ONE AREA OF BROAD CONCERN IS THE IMPACT THAT OUR CHANGING CLIMATE CAN HAVE ON AUSTIN AND THE INCREASED POTENTIAL FOR WEATHER RELATED EMERGENCIES, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO PROTECTING OUR MOST AT-RISK RESIDENTS.

THAT'S WHY THIS PROPOSED BUDGET DEDICATES FUNDS FOR DISASTER INFRASTRUCTURE, SUCH AS COLD AND HOT WEATHER CENTERS AND NEIGHBORHOOD RESILIENCE HUBS.

AND TO ENSURING THAT THE COMMUNITY IS INFORMED ABOUT THOSE RESOURCES AND UNDERSTANDS HOW TO UTILIZE THEM IF NEEDED.

WE ALSO CLEARLY HEARD THE COUNCIL'S ONGOING CONCERN ABOUT EQUITY IN OUR COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY AS GROWTH AND GENTRIFICATION CONTINUE.

THAT'S WHY WE PRIORITIZE INVESTMENTS IN OUR SMALL AND MINORITY BUSINESS STAFF AND PROGRAMS. AND SO EQUITY PLANNING AND DISPLACEMENT PREVENTION RELATED TO PROJECT CONNECT AND INTO CONTINUED RENTAL AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE AND INTO UPDATING OUR QUALITY OF LIFE STUDIES TO UNDERSTAND HOW BEST TO MEET THE LONG-TERM NEEDS OF VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES.

FINALLY, WE KNOW THAT AUSTIN'S CULTURE OF CREATIVITY IS FUNDAMENTAL TO WHO WE ARE AS A CITY AND PLAYS A VITAL ROLE IN OUR LOCAL ECONOMY TO PROTECT THAT WE'RE PROPOSING A SIGNIFICANT NEW INVESTMENT IN THE ICONIC VENUE FUND TO HELP ENSURE THAT SOME OF THE SPECIAL PLACES THAT DEFINE US AND SUSTAIN US CAN CONTINUE TO DO SO NOW, AS PROMISED, LET ME COME BACK TO WHAT I'VE TOLD YOU BEFORE WAS THE CORE FEATURE OF OUR FISCAL YEAR 23 BUDGET PROPOSAL.

AND THAT IS A SERIES OF PROPOSED INVESTMENTS IN OUR WORKFORCE, TRULY THE LIFEBLOOD OF CITY GOVERNMENT.

AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE, WE ARE HARDLY THE ONLY ORGANIZATION FACING A SERIOUS STAFFING SHORTAGE.

THAT MEANS WE ARE EFFECTIVELY IN COMPETITION WITH OTHER EMPLOYERS AND NOT JUST LOCAL, BUT NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL, WHO ARE PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN NEW WORKERS, TO BE SURE WE CAN RECRUIT AND KEEP THE STAFF.

WE NEED TO DO THE WORK FOR THIS COMMUNITY.

HERE'S WHAT WE'RE PROPOSING FOR THE NEXT YEAR.

FIRST, WE ARE PROPOSING A 4% CIVILIAN WAGE INCREASE EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1ST.

THIS IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ACROSS THE BOARD.

CIVILIAN WAGE INCREASE IN MORE THAN TWO DECADES AND WILL HELP OUR EMPLOYEES KEEP UP WITH AUSTIN'S RISING COST OF LIVING.

SECOND, WE ARE PROPOSING TO INCREASE OUR LIVING WAGE FROM $15 AN HOUR TO $18 AN HOUR WITH A LONGER-TERM GOAL PER COUNCIL'S RECENT DIRECTION TO GO EVEN HIGHER AS CIRCUMSTANCE ALLOWS IN FUTURE YEARS.

AND FINALLY, IN THE COMING WEEKS, WE WILL BE PROVIDING A ONE-TIME STAFF RETENTION STIPEND OF UP TO $1,500 FOR ALL PERMANENTS AND ACTIVE TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES, BOTH CIVILIAN AND SWORN WHO HAVE AT LEAST ONE YEAR OF SERVICE WITH THE CITY.

OUR HOPE AND EXPECTATION IS THAT THESE THREE SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENTS IN OUR CIVILIAN WORKFORCE WILL BEGIN TO EASE OUR STAFFING CHALLENGE AND BETTER POSITION US TO COMPETE EFFECTIVELY FOR TALENT MOVING FORWARD.

LET ME ALSO ADD HERE THAT WE ARE CURRENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF NEGOTIATING FUTURE SALARIES WITH OUR PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL.

I AM OPTIMISTIC THAT WHATEVER CONTRACTS WE END UP WITH WILL LIKEWISE CHART A COURSE FOR FUTURE SUCCESS.

SO WITH THAT, I WANT TO END WHERE I BEGAN AND REMIND YOU, PERHAPS IN A MORE POIGNANT WAY, WHY WE ARE HERE TODAY IN THE MONTOPOLIS RECREATION AND COMMUNITY CENTER.

IF YOU LOOK ON THAT WALL OVER THERE, YOU'LL SEE A MURAL IT'S PAINTED BY AUSTIN ARTISTS, THAT NCO DURAN, WHO IS HERE WITH US TODAY, BUT NCO, CAN YOU RAISE YOUR HAND? IT'S AN AMAZING PIECE OF THAT MURAL FEATURES SEVERAL PEOPLE WHO HAVE PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THIS COMMUNITY.

AND ONE INDIVIDUAL WHO HAS PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE AS SKIP MOORE, SKIP SERVED AS A SUPERVISOR OF THIS RECREATION CENTER FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS, HE PASSED AWAY JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO, AND I'M HONORED TO RECOGNIZE HIM HERE TODAY DURING HIS LIFE, HE WAS GREATLY ADMIRED FOR HIS DEDICATION TO ENSURING THAT THIS FACILITY PLAYED A MEANINGFUL ROLE IN THE LIFE OF THIS NEIGHBORHOOD.

AND BY ALL ACCOUNTS, HE SUCCEEDED, SKIP MOORE MADE THIS BUILDING, MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

HIS SON MONTEREY IS HERE WITH US TODAY.

I JUST WANT TO HONOR AND RECOGNIZE THE LIFE OF YOUR FATHER BECAUSE HE MEANT A GREAT DEAL TO US.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

[00:25:01]

MY FRIENDS, WHEN THE CITY OF AUSTIN DOES ITS JOB, WELL, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

WE CAN AND DO HELP PEOPLE IN EVERY PART OF OUR COMMUNITY REALIZE THEIR FULL POTENTIAL.

WHEN WE DELIVER, WHEN WE DO THE WORK, THE CITY CAN BE A CATALYST FOR AUSTINITES TO ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS, EVEN TRANSFORMATIVE THINGS, BUT THERE'S A FLIP SIDE AND THAT'S WHEN THE CITY OF AUSTIN FALL SHORT.

WHEN FOR WHATEVER REASON, WE FAIL TO MEET A PARTICULAR NEED AT A PARTICULAR TIME, THEN WE CAN ACTUALLY BECOME AN IMPEDIMENT TO OTHER PEOPLE'S SUCCESS.

THAT IS A RESPONSIBILITY I TAKE VERY SERIOUSLY.

AND MY GOAL IS CITY MANAGERS TO HELP INSPIRE EVERYONE IN THIS ORGANIZATION FROM NEW HIRES TO CAREER EMPLOYEES, TO ALWAYS BE AWARE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WORK THAT THEY DO.

AND TO TAKE THAT RESPONSIBILITY SERIOUSLY, WHAT'S CLEAR IS THIS CITY GOVERNMENT IS IN MANY WAYS CENTRAL TO THE SUCCESS OF OUR COMMUNITY AND PEOPLE, OUR EMPLOYEES ARE CENTRAL TO THE SUCCESS OF CITY GOVERNMENT.

AND SO IN FISCAL YEAR 23, TO INVEST IN THE SUCCESS OF OUR COMMUNITY, WE MUST INVEST IN THE SUCCESS OF OUR EMPLOYEES.

THAT MEANS OUR RECREATION CENTER STAFF, OUR LIBRARIANS, OUR UTILITY LINE WORKERS, OUR WASTE COLLECTION AND ROAD REPAIR CREWS ARE COMMUNITY HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AND SO MANY MORE.

I AM SO PROUD OF OUR DEDICATED CITY EMPLOYEES AND THE WORK THAT THEY DO TO MAKE THIS COMMUNITY SPECIAL.

I KNOW THAT YOU COUNCIL FEEL THE SAME AND I LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUE DISCUSSIONS WITH YOU OVER THE NEXT MONTH WITH THAT.

I WANT TO THANK YOU COUNCIL FOR ALLOWING ME TO SERVE THIS INCREDIBLE COMMUNITY AS CITY MANAGER.

I WANT TO THANK ONCE AGAIN TO ALL OF OUR CITY STAFF WHO JOINED US HERE TODAY, AND A SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR BUDGET STAFF FOR THEIR HARD WORK AND PREPARING THIS PROPOSAL.

AND FINALLY, THANKS AGAIN TO OUR HOSTS HERE AT THE MONTOPOLIS RECREATION AND COMMUNITY CENTER.

I REALLY APPRECIATE THIS OPPORTUNITY AND THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE.

THAT CONCLUDES THIS PRESENTATION, AND I INVITE YOU ALL ONCE AGAIN TO JOIN FOR ME FOR A SERVICE RECEPTION.

AND THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE.