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City Facing Budget Deficit

The city is half way through its budget year and it’s not looking good.

Based on revenue and expenses, the city is over budget by about one-and-a-half million dollars.

Tuesday, city council got an update on the city’s finances through its second quarter. And while no lay offs are planned for city workers. Don’t expect to get a job with the city anytime soon. Right now, every department is looking for ways to cut back.

“We show about a 1.5 million dollar deficit by the end of the year the way things are going, ” said Bill Studer, Deputy City Manager.

The possible deficit is less than one percent of the city’s general fund of 312 million dollars, which pays for the police and fire departments.

“Both budgets, police and fire are over due to our mis-budgeting of attrition and overtime. What assurance can you give us that we’re going to be able to get those under control? ” asked Beto O’Rourke, El Paso City Representative of the city manager’s office whose required to give quarterly financial reports.

“For the first time we’re seeing a declining levy of property taxes month by month,” explained Studer.

City officials say they didn’t take into account a new homestead exemption for disabled veterans.

“We need to be prepared for that to go up as more veterans become aware of it and apply for it,” added Studer.

So, with less collected in sales and property taxes and the peso devaluation …city officials are facing a budget gap they’re hoping to close between now and the end of August.

Studer said, “We’ve been pushing pretty hard to hold some positions where we could and at least delay filling those positions.”

A special financial workshop will be held Thursday. City council will discuss if a bond election will be held next year.

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