In a unanimous decision, the Burleson City Council has greenlit a visionary budget for the upcoming fiscal year, commencing on October 1, 2023. This budget lowers the city portion of the tax rate and prioritizes essential areas such as public safety, road infrastructure, traffic management, and more.
On September 11, 2023, the City Council approved a budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year, which reduces the city portion of the tax rate to $0.6325 per $100 of assessed valuation. This rate is $0.0247 lower than the previous year's property tax rate, marking the lowest city rate Burleson has seen since 2008. Property owners may witness an increase in their city tax bills if the assessed values of their properties have risen. Notably, the city of Burleson does not determine the appraised value of homes; this responsibility lies with the appraisal districts in the homeowner's residing county.
The newly adopted budget is the result of seven months of meticulous planning and collaboration, incorporating valuable input from the City Council. This budget is thoughtfully designed to address the city's challenges and achieve the ambitious goals outlined in the City of Burleson's Strategic Plan. Moreover, it has been developed within the framework of a five-year financial plan to ensure that today's decisions are sustainable well into the future.
With a total allocation of approximately $255.9 million, the budget outlines a three percent (3%) homestead exemption in FY 2025, with incremental increases of one percent (1%) annually, ultimately leading to a five percent (5%) homestead exemption. This measure aims to reduce residents’ property tax burdens.
In line with the city’s commitment to enhancing the community’s infrastructure, the budget earmarks $28.2 million for street and traffic improvements over the coming year. This includes continuing voter-approved 2022 bond projects and the highly anticipated Lakewood Boulevard extension to establish a direct route to Chisholm Trail Parkway and Hooper Business Park. Furthermore, the budget outlines an impressive $101.3 million allocation for street, traffic, and sidewalk improvements within the five-year capital improvement plan (CIP).
Safety remains paramount in our city, and this year's budget reflects this commitment. The Fire Department is set to see significant growth with the addition of nine firefighters, a battalion chief, and a lieutenant. The Police Department is bolstering its ranks with a new police lieutenant and a crime prevention/public engagement specialist. Moreover, police budget enhancements include the procurement of new body-worn and in-car cameras, tasers, and duty handgun replacements for officers.
The City Manager's Office continues spearheading efforts to enhance organizational efficiency, financial sustainability, and customer service. Recent initiatives include implementing citizen self-service portals in the Development Services Department to streamline the building permit process and transitioning various projects to in-house completion, reducing the reliance on third-party firms.
Burleson's 2023-24 budget is not merely a financial document but a blueprint for a brighter future. It is a testament to the city's unwavering commitment to its residents' well-being, infrastructure development, and fiscal responsibility.