El Paso City Council voted Tuesday to adopt a reduced operating budget and tax rate for Fiscal Year 2021 that focuses on essential services while providing vital tax relief to homeowners and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The City had to make a lot of difficult choices due to the health crisis’ impact on our economy, but as an organization committed to fiscal responsibility we have worked to reduce the tax rate to our community. How did we do this? We implemented financial tools and resources over a six year period that put us in a better position to address the pandemic. This budget allows us to maintain our critical core services and programming while minimizing the impact on other services,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.
The reductions in the scaled back operating budget are primarily attributed to deferring nonessential capital projects, departments reducing operation costs, and focusing on core services such as police, fire, and streets.
According to the city, the All Funds Budget for FY2021 stands at approximately $984.7 million, a decrease of approximately $62.3 million from the previous budget.
“The budget was developed along with extensive public outreach to ensure it encompassed those services and programs residents and businesses identified as priorities,” officials shared via a news release.
Along with the new budget, Council adopted the same property tax rate as last year.
“By keeping the tax rate steady at $0.907 per $100 of property valuation, the City aimed to ease some of the pressure on taxpayers as a result of the financial uncertainty created by the pandemic,” city officials said.
The average value of a single family home increased only slightly, by less than 1 percent, from July 2019 compared to July 2020. El Paso’s average single family home in 2019 was $133,540 compared to $134,794 in July 2020.
The City’s taxable property values and tax rate are what determines how much funding it will receive from residential and commercial property owners. The City receives a fraction of the total property tax dollars collected in El Paso County. More than half of every tax dollar collected in El Paso goes to other government entities help pay for non-city services such as public schools, county roads and other vital programs.
By the Numbers: Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Highlights
- No tax rate increase proposal to lessen the burden on homeowners and businesses;
- Focuses on the basics (examples: public safety, streets, workforce);
- Focuses on long-term recovery with uncertainty from future revenue and cost impacts from the health pandemic;
- Utilizes tools and resources created in the last six years to balance the budget; and
- Includes Chime-In feedback (what residents and businesses considered budget priorities).