Tag Archives: Austin seniors

City Should Establish Lots of Senior Discounts

By Bill Oakey – May 22, 2022

Austin’s affordability disaster has reached every neighborhood in the city. Few people were surprised by the latest round of obnoxiously high tax appraisals. Our City leaders created this problem by marketing the city relentlessly, until the growth spiraled out of control. No other city  in Texas has seen the steep rise in housing costs on the scale that exists here.

Our long term residents should not be shoved aside, just to make room for more luxury housing units. Instead, the City should look for ways to keep the older folks here. After all, we are the ones who worked, volunteered and paid our taxes, to create the lively atmosphere and high quality of life that makes Austin special.

It’s Time for the City to Implement a Full Range of Senior Discounts

I am making the following recommendations to the City Council to consider for senior discounts:

1. All fixed customer charges on utility bills – for electric, water, wastewater, trash collection

2. Admission tickets, services charges and parking fees for all events, both public and private, that are held at City-owned facilities or on City-owned land. This includes music festivals, wine tastings and the multitude of other events at Zilker Park, Botanical Gardens, Auditorium Shores, etc.The City’s contracts with private entities that use City parks and facilities should be modified to require senior discounts.

3. General admission and parking for City parks and City facilities at all times, even when no special events are happening. State and national parks already provide senior discounts.

4. Fees for all parking meters, parking lots and parking garages throughout the city. This includes libraries, City Hall and all other City facilities.

The City should roll out this initiative with a major public relations campaign. They should encourage all private businesses to partner with them and offer similar senior discounts. We are starting to see far too many luxury events with sky-high prices. And it can cost an arm and a leg just to park, before going in to these events. That’s fine for the folks who can shrug it off with a few taps on their phones. But, it’s high time for our City officials to recognize that Austin still has some of the local people who cannot light a cigar with a $100 bill.

Taxpayer Alert – Seniors Would Lose In City / AISD Tax Swap

I’mBy Bill Oakey – April 5, 2016

There would be no “Christmas in July” for Austin seniors this summer if the City moves forward with a new plan to take over funding of many of AISD’s social services. The tax swap idea sounds good to the school district, since they would be able to lower the amount of “Robin Hood” recapture money that they have to send back to the State. But a 1987 State law (which began as a proposal on my old Sears typewriter) freezes school taxes for seniors age 65 and older and the disabled.

The Race Is On

Right now the State of Texas is embroiled in a complex legal case with numerous school districts, including AISD over the Constitutionality of the Robin Hood system of funding Texas Schools. That case still has many miles over rocky roads to travel before probably finally being settled by the State Supreme Court.

Meanwhile the race is on for the City to study, debate and gather public input on the new social services tax swap plan. AISD’s fiscal year begins on July 1st. But there are so many questions. What would happen to the tax swap if the State Supreme Court threw out the current school finance system. Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until the court battles are finished, and a new statewide tax plan is adopted?

The City Would Need An Offsetting Tax Adjustment to Protect Seniors!

if the City were to implement the tax swap, they would need to adjust their own over-65 homestead exemption for seniors and index it every year to maintain the intent of the 1987 school tax freeze. Everybody needs to contact their City Council members as soon as possible to ensure that this proper step is taken to protect seniors and disabled homeowners.