'Crunch time' for Austin City Council in balancing the budget

It's crunch time for the Austin City Council. By law, city council members have to iron out the final details and balance the upcoming year's budget by the end of the day.
               
The grand total is $4 billion, the general fund itself is about $1 billion.
               
Council spent most of the morning trying to figure out different ways to use the last $5 million. Some of the discussion this afternoon was on what to do with “Hotel Occupancy Taxes” and how much they can use.   

Law allows council to re-allocate 15% of what tourists pay for at Austin hotels and putting it toward historical preservation -- meaning upkeep for places like Barton Springs Pool and sprucing up the old Seaholm intake facility. 
               
The full amount council is allowed to use is about $11.1 million but the city manager is urging council that 8.6 is as far as they can go right now. 
               
There's a fear going higher may hurt a future expansion of the convention center which some of the council members say is completely false...2 separate things.
               
Council Member Ellen Troxclair today is proposing using HOT funds for police overtime during SXSW.

"Right now Austin taxpayers pay out of their property taxes a $1.5 million payment to SXSW to cover additional police costs during that festival time.  My amendment would instead give that money back to the taxpayers and cover those costs through the convention center and hotel occupancy taxes which of course are paid by the visitors who are coming to Austin for events like SXSW," Troxclair said.

Mayor Steve Adler says the city manager will have to report back to them if going above the $8.6 million will hurt a future convention center expansion.
               
Otherwise he's in support of leveraging as much money as possible for historical preservation.
               
Adler talked about what he's hoping to do with that last $5 million they've been combing through today.

"Investment in our children, after school programs, parent-teacher support specialists, I think is something...we're going to put money to the homelessness challenge we have in our city.  There's a lot of money being spent on equity," Adler said.

When council adopts the budget they'll set the tax rate.  They could adopt an 8% increase. 
               
Council has until midnight to get everything done.

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