Austin voters will start heading to the polls today —Monday, Oct. 24 — with the beginning of early voting in 2022 midterm elections.
A $350 million affordable housing bond, Proposition A, is on the ballot. The proposition "would provide funding for the creation, rehabilitation, and retention of affordable rental and ownership housing," according to the city website. If approved, some of the types of projects and programs that could be undertaken as part of the bond could include land acquisition, rental housing development assistance projects, ownership housing development assistance projects, and home repair programs.
The project expenditures authorized by City of Austin Proposition A would be funded by general obligation bonds, which are repaid by property taxes. The city doesn't anticipate an increase in the 2023 property tax rate as a result of the proposition's passing, according to its site.
Presumably, that's the case for next year only; memos from Mayor Steve Adler's office referenced in the Austin City Council's discussion of the bond proposal this summer put the annual tax increase cost for the "typical homeowner" — defined as a "home assessed at $448,000 with a taxable value of $358,400 (net homestead exemption) — at about $46.60 if the proposition passes.
Austin passed a $250 million affordable housing bond in 2018, much of which has already been spent on or designated for land acquisition; rental housing development assistance, ownership housing development assistance, and community land trust programs; three former hotels for permanent supportive housing; and property repairs, including those damaged in 2021's Winter Storm Uri.
Voters also approved affordable housing bonds in 2006 and 2013.
The city is still struggling to meet anything approaching its goal of creating 60,000 new affordable units by 2028, as laid out in its Strategic Housing Blueprint.
In addition to voting for school district, county, state, and federal offices, Austinites will cast ballots in the mayor's race. Seats in five City Council districts are also on the ballot.