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El Paso City Council hosting Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Workshops

EL PASO, TX (KVIA) -- El Paso Mayor and City Council are holding budget workshops to discuss the Fiscal Year 2025 budget, which includes significant changes and investments for the city.

“These are very important days,” Chief Financial Officer Robert Cortinas told ABC-7. “We discuss the budget all year long, but this is really the kickoff of showing what the actual 2025 budget will look like. It includes talking about the property tax rate, all the different services included, new facilities coming aligned, and the city’s plans to address priorities known from city council and community engagement.”

Interim City Manager Cary Westin and Chief Financial Officer Robert Cortinas presented a preliminary budget that proposes a property tax rate reduction to 77.8 cents, a four-cent decrease from the current rate. Cortinas says this reduction is due to an increase in property valuations, both residential and commercial.

The final tax rates will be decided on August 1 when City Council receives certified property values. Cortinas noted that the levels of decrease seen in the last couple of years are 2 to 3 times above the normal average, but he says they know this won’t last forever. “We know that property values will eventually start to taper off, we’ve already started to see a little bit of that. It’s important to not look at the budget in just a one-year glance but to ensure decisions made for this upcoming year don’t have negative consequences down the line,” said Cortinas.

The proposed city budget aligns with the City Council’s strategic plan and responds to community priorities gathered from surveys and meetings. In addition to tax rate discussions, city leaders are hearing from all the city departments and their initiatives for the upcoming year. Some of the major investments are in public safety and improving street infrastructure.

“The police and fire departments are two of our largest departments, making up almost 60 percent of the overall general fund budget,” Cortinas explained. This includes funding for several police academies, the opening of a new fire station, and the Eastside Regional Command Center.

Significant funds are also allocated for street improvements. The budget sets $13.5 million to street resurfacing projects and $750,000 for ADA compliance upgrades.

“Public safety and streets are really at the top, followed by our quality of life services,” Cortinas said. “We are also heavily focused on our workforce, it's important that the city is being proactive to ensure we're providing competitive wages, providing strong benefits to not only retain the employees that we have, but also to be attractive as an employer to be able to recruit, fill a lot of the vacancies that we have.”

A public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2025 budget is scheduled for August 13. The workshop meetings this week start at 9:00 a.m. and are expected to continue through Wednesday, July 10. Click here to watch the livestream.

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Isabella Martinez


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