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Several city representatives to direct City Manager Tommy Gonzalez to lower El Paso tax rate

EL PASO, Texas – Several city representatives say they will direct City Manager Tommy Gonzalez to decrease the City of El Paso tax rate.

District 5 Representative Isabel Salcido has placed an item on Tuesday’s city council agenda. The agenda item is co-sponsored by District 3 Representative Cassandra Hernandez and District 7 Representative Henry Rivera.

“We have been paying attention over the last week to the news about homeowners receiving their appraisal notices from the El Paso Central Appraisal District,” Salcido said in a news release. “While the City Council has nothing to do with those appraisals, we understand the impact that increasing property value can have on next year’s tax bills and we want to do what we can to help keep those affordable.”

Rep. Salcido says lowering the city tax rate is an important step in providing relief to taxpayers. Council has not increased the tax rate each of the last two fiscal years.

Salcido has represented District 5, El Paso’s Upper East Side, on the City Council since she took office in January 2019.

ABC-7 has reported extensively on the rise in property values over the last two years as some residents are seeing their homes’ values increase by more than 20 percent in a single year.

ABC-7 also reached out to every city representative and county commissioner to see if they support lowering the tax rate to help offset the surge in property values.

District 2 Representative Alexsandra Annello told ABC-7 she supports lowering the rate: “I just think we need to create some kind of relief for people. This isn’t a normal market and these increases [in home values] are going to really hurt people.”

ABC-7 received a statement from District 8 Representative Cissy Lizarraga’s office that says she is non-committal at this time: “The City Council hasn't increased the tax rate over the last three years now, but of course there has been an increase in revenue as property values have increased during this post-pandemic period of high demand for homes. A proportional tax rate decrease is most definitely something Rep. Lizarraga would consider, but there's also no way she can commit right now to support something that won't even be proposed until a few months from now and that we currently only have a fraction of the information about.”

ABC-7 only heard back from one county commissioner so far. Precinct 2 Commissioner David Stout also indicated he might support a lowering of the county tax rate: “We have not discussed an increase in property taxes at Commissioners Court, but in strategic planning a few weeks ago, we did discuss at least holding the line and possibly reducing the tax rate like we did last year. I think we do need to take into account the recent property value increases and work as hard as we can to try and counteract those increases."

ABC-7 is working to get answers from the other city representatives and county commissioners and will report on what comes out of Tuesday’s council discussion.

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Erik Elken

Erik Elken co-anchors ABC-7’s flagship newscasts.

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