AUSTIN — Don't expect much change from Monday to December when it comes to the city of Austin's property tax levy. 

"Ours will be pretty much a formality," said Austin City Administrator Craig Clark. 

On Monday, the city council approved a preliminary levy of $7,150,000 for 2020 by a 6-0 unanimous vote. That represents a 4.03 percent levy increase over 2019's levy, Clark said. The overall preliminary budget for Austin for 2020 was set at $35,913,342.

While most of the levy increase is due to small line item increases, Clark said the budget for 2019 and 2020 included a market study on compensation and job classification that will analyze how Austin pays its city employees compared to other similar cities. 

That study won't be available until it can first be presented to the labor unions representing city employees, he said.

The levy increase will be somewhat offset by an increase in the tax base, Clark said. In addition to residential housing construction in the last year, the old HyVee was redeveloped and several national retailers are renting space in the building. 

But, like it has in recent years, the city council likely will approve a final budget and levy that are identical to the preliminary versions. 

"We've been pretty religious that our preliminary levy is our final (levy)," Clark said. "We start working on it pretty early in June." 

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