Austin city manager proposes 2022-23 budget to address staffing shortage, sustain public services

Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk has presented his proposed $5 billion budget for fiscal year 2022-2023.

In it, Cronk has proposed an across-the-board pay increase of four percent for civilian staff effective October 1, 2022, which the city says is the largest increase in more than two decades for librarians, rec center staff, utility line workers, waste collection and road repair crews, community health professionals and many more. 

Under Cronk’s proposal, the city says its living wage – the minimum payable to any employee – would rise by 20%, from $15 to $18 per hour, with a longer-term goal to go higher, per Council’s recent direction. Cronk also wants any employee who has been with the city for at least a year to receive a one-time retention stipend of up to $1,500 in their pay packets next month.

Homeowners could also see a decrease in taxes paid to the city next year. However, Cronk wants to increase some of the city's rates and fees, such as electricity, trash service and the transportation user fee in response to rising operations costs as well as increasing service demands from a growing population. 

The proposed budget is split into six categories and some highlights include:

Culture & Lifelong Learning

  • Combined $26.6 million in total funding for cultural arts, historic preservation, and live music based on the increase in expected Hotel Occupancy Tax collections 
  • $12 million in voter-approved planned capital spending for cultural facilities that host creative activities
  • $9.4 million in planned capital spending to renovate and expand the Austin History Center
  • $2.5 million one-time funding for the Iconic Venue Fund to support venues and other local tourist destinations displaced due to Austin’s changing economy
  • $402,000 in partial-year funding for 7 new positions to expand and improve community access to passport services provided by the Austin Public Library


  • $269.2 million in planned capital spending, as well as $2.8 million for 21 positions to implement voter approved mobility projects 
  • $3.5 million, including five new positions, for the Project Connect Office to represent the City’s role and responsibilities in implementing the Project Connect transit expansion program (funded by the Austin Transit Partnership)
  • $72.5 million in planned capital spending to implement the Sidewalk Plan, including building and rehabilitating our city’s sidewalks
  • $5.1 million for 55 new positions in the Aviation Department to improve customer service and keep pace with rapidly growing passenger traffic at the Austin airport

Economic Opportunity & Affordability

  • $79.1 million in planned capital spending to meet affordable housing goals set by the Austin Strategic Housing Blueprint 
  • $5.4 million for the Small and Minority Business Resources Department, including 4 new positions to improve support services and enhance programs for small, minority, and women-owned business
  • $5 million one-time funding for emergency rental assistance
  • $1.25 million one-time funding for quality-of-life studies to identify factors and recommend policy changes to reduce disparities in historically underserved communities
  • $1.6 million for 18 new positions across seven departments to streamline development review processes of City capital projects

Government that Works

  • $10.6 million for Microsoft Office 365 maintenance and subscriptions, representing an increase of $5.4 million to support citywide compliance with security audit recommendations
  • $9.9 million for the Information Security Office, including $580,000 one-time funding for citywide security services tools to protect key City technology infrastructure
  • $3.4 million for 42 new positions to improve corporate financial, human resources, information technology, and building services
  • $1.6 million and two dedicated positions, an increase of one, to meet the growing demand for Language Access Program services
  • $302,000 in partial-year funding for three new positions in the Office of the City Clerk to support the City’s boards and commissions

Health & Environment

  • $11.7 million to maintain and operate 45 aquatic facilities, including an increase of four lifeguard positions to improve safety at Barton Springs Pool 
  • $9.9 million in planned capital spending to construct the Dove Springs Public Health facility, which will house a neighborhood health center, a WIC office, a childcare center, and an immunization clinic
  • $880,000 for immigrant legal assistance services; an increase of $250,000 from prior year funding
  • $4.8 million to clean up homelessness encampments in public spaces, under highways, and near waterways; an increase of $1.6 million
  • $900,000 to operate the Pet Resource Center, which includes 4 new positions to improve the process of reclaiming lost pets at the Animal Shelter


  • $13.1 million for the Forensic Science Department, including an increase of three positions to improve crime scene processing times and evidence collection quality assurance 
  • $11.5 million for the Fire Marshal’s Office, including an increase of 17 positions for additional capacity to ensure fire code compliance and provide site plan review and inspection of development projects 
  • $1 million in one-time funding to support the establishment of a Trauma Recovery Center 
  • $3.2 million for EMS Billing Services, including 9 new ambulance billing staff positions to process the backlog and keep pace with growing number of EMS patient bills 
  • $1 million in partial-year funding for 13 new positions in Austin Code, including two new Code Inspector positions to expand the Code Connect Line program

Community input meetings have been scheduled for July 27 and August 2 with council work sessions on August 9 and August 11. Budget adoption is scheduled on August 17.