KFOX14 - kfoxtv.com - Search Results
City Council to discuss proposed property tax hike
By: Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, Texas -- The city gets closer to finalizing a budget and Tuesday morning begins the first of two public hearings on a possible property tax increase. It would be about a 3 percent increase compared to last years tax rate.
"Again? That's disappointing" said David Landon of West El Paso.
Landon said he plans to buy a home for him and his wife and their future children, but said increased property taxes give him a second to pause.
"I want to try and get a nice house but with all that going on, I don't know," said Landon.
According to the city's release, the average home in El Paso was worth around $123,500 and with the tax rate of $.658404 per $100 of taxable value, the amount of taxes the average homeowner paid was $813.43
This year the average taxable value of a home in El Paso this year is worth around $124,000, if City Council adopts the proposed tax rate of $0.684203 per $100 of taxable value, the amount of taxes the average homeowner will pay would be $849.03, about a $37.00 increase.
Still, the city doesn't have much of choice.
According to the presentation, the city will give at the meeting, property tax revenues decrease by about a million dollars and the city's debt increased by another million, leaving the general fund about two million short.
"Is it because of the baseball stadium?" asked Landon.
The city has repeatedly said money for the ballpark will not come from property taxes or the general fund. But with the market not as favorable, the city had to spend more on issuing the bonds than expected.
That increases the city's debt and the city's Chief Financial Officer Carmen Arrieta Candelaria, told our media partners the El Paso Times that for the first few years, money from the general fund may be needed to help subsidize the yearly debt payments.
General funds can also be moved to make up for losses in other areas, which is what some city council members were concerned would happen with the approval of the ballpark.
Making matters more complicated for this budget cycle is that both police and fire are owed their annual raises and those two services make up about two-thirds of the city's budget.
Still, homeowners aren't the only ones who will be feeling the pinch, the proposed budget for 2014 makes some tough cuts to almost every city department. That includes reductions in overtime for the police department, decrease in travel expenses, and not filling vacancies in several of the departments.
There is also a possibility the city will have to increase fees for some of its services.
There are still several issues within the budget that city staff needs direction on from council before the budget can be finalized.
Council already had a chance to vote on the proposed increase before the public meetings begin and all city reps voted in favor of the hike except for Rep. Dr. Michiel R. Noe and Rep. Eddie Holguin who were not present.