Eight-year-old Solei and her three-year-old brother Jacob know how to enjoy their last days of summer.
Their mom says this splash pad is only a few blocks from their grandparents' East Austin home, but aside from the convenience, Jennifer Soliz says there's little else that attracts her to Bartholomew Park.
"It is important to be able to take my kids to a safe environment and a clean environment," Soliz said.
Potholes dot the pool’s parking lot and trampled grass abounds. Those are just a couple reasons why the Soliz family typically opts for Mueller Lake Park about a half-mile south.
"Because of the pond, the ducks, the scenery is different. It's a larger park," Soliz said.
Ahead of Thursday's public hearing, Austin city leaders are taking concerns like Soliz's into account when it comes to spending tax dollars.
Quality of life programs, like the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, experienced some of the deepest cuts during the recession.
"We are hearing some real significant interest in adding to the budget in certain categories,” Council Member Kathie Tovo said. “On the other hand, some very legitimate concerns about rising taxes."
City council is certain on one thing: property values are increasing. Even if they keep the current rate, you will still be paying more in taxes next year.
"We need to let that property value increase and the sales tax increase cover the service increase needs," Council Member Laura Morrison said.
Council members like Morrison have been going line by line in the $802-million budget looking for fat. She found four parts she says can be trimmed for substantial savings.
"$7.7 million dollars is more than enough to take us back to the nominal tax rate."
While the council continues to balance needs and wants, they say their focus will remain on how their decisions impact the people who are footing the bill.
City council returns Wednesday morning to hear from the last of its departments asking for more money. A public hearing on the budget starts after 4 p.m.