On Tuesday, El Paso City Council passed the budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 without raising the property tax rate for the second year in a row.
In addition, to further minimize the impact on local residents, the council has not increased Sun Metro fares or solid waste charges.
Earlier this year, the council also approved property tax cuts for over 52,000 homeowners who are senior citizens or residents with disabilities. This year’s budget restores roads, high priority police and fire equipment replacements and services, and other deferred capital projects hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The past two years have been challenging our community due to the pandemic that has impacted the physical and financial health of our community. We responded with the best vaccine rollout in America and a tax cut for seniors and residents with disabilities and no tax rate increases as we bring back the critical services our citizens have described, ”said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.
“We reached a budget that refinanced the property tax rate in legacy debt due to savings like the $ 21 million we refinanced along with the new budget and the city council’s adoption of the same property tax rate as last year. By keeping the tax rate at $ 0.907 per $ 100 home valuation, the city aims to ease some of the pressure on taxpayers from the ongoing financial uncertainty created by the pandemic.
The budget for fiscal 2022 includes $ 20 million in set-aside funds for road renewal projects, plus an additional $ 3 million for a new traffic intersection safety program, ADA projects on demand, neighborhood speeding reduction and the update of the study used on the Road condition index to evaluate road condition.
The budget also includes $ 8 million for police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and new radios for public safety, as well as increased funding for the crisis intervention team that responds to emergency calls involving people with a mental health crisis.
Eventually, the city identified about $ 13 million for the recreational and senior centers, libraries, museums and water facilities, as well as improved maintenance of the city sports complex.
Officials add that the city’s taxable property values and tax rate determine how much funding the city receives from residential and commercial property owners.
The city receives a fraction of the total property tax levied in El Paso County. More than half of all tax money raised in El Paso goes to other government agencies and helps pay for services outside of the city, including public schools, county roads, and other key programs.
By numbers: Budget highlights for fiscal year 2022
- No tax rate or fee increase to relieve homeowners and businesses;
- Providing more tax breaks for seniors and residents with disabilities;
- Restoring high priority services and funding capital projects affected by the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Focus on long-term financial stability; and
- Developed with full outreach to incorporate input from the council and community through a variety of methods including citizen polls, community meetings, strategic youth budget advice, carillon and feedback from focus groups.
Further information on the city and budget can be found here; for our full coverage click here.