If you are a property owner, you probably hold your breath during budget season because the budgets that school districts, the County, the City, UMC, and all the other taxing entities are deciding how much they need from you to make their budgets. There is some good news and some bad news from the City.

El Paso City Council voted to not raise the tax rate. That's good news but the bad news is the Central Appraisal District raised property valuations so you'll still see a slight increase in your City taxes. Other good news from the City - they were able to find $62 million in budget cuts which helped them not have to raise the tax rate. The bad news is that a lot of those cuts came at the expense of putting off non-essential capital projects, finding ways for departments to reduce operation costs, and focusing on core services such as police, fire and streets.

Translation? Projects like quality of life projects will be put on hold, City departments tightened their belts, and things like police, fire, and streets, which are vital to keeping our city safe and moving, are going to be the main things to get taxpayer money.

The bad news in that is that eventually, the capital projects are going to have to be funded. City officials need to be specific about which projects are being put on hold, but if they are part of the 2012 Quality of Life Bond, they will have to be built because they are voter mandated. That means at some point, taxes will have to go up to fund them.

If the City can figure out a way to tighten up their budget in the few months since the coronavirus pandemic hit, they should spend a lot more time finding other ways to cut costs. Anyone who has ever dealt with the City knows that there is a lot of money that gets spent that doesn't need to be spent. City leaders should need to answer to all that unnecessary spending and fix it before next year's budget talks.

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