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Budget Battles to Begin Soon

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 5:33pm

EL PASO- Will there be higher taxes?  New fees?  Programs cut?  Those are questions set to be answered next week, as the El Paso City Council starts tackling the city's budget for 2012.

City Manager Joyce Wilson will present her office's proposed budget to the full council next week.  The major presentation will outline a basic budget for the city, suggesting operating expenses for every entity controlled by the city.

From there, the process of finalizing a budget begins, as city council can propose amendments to the proposal.

"Last year was a very difficult budget year if you remember, we were talking about furloughs, there was contention with police and fire.  This year, I think we're going to able to pass a budget that doesn't increase the tax rate, yet provides the services that the citizens expect," said City Representative Steve Ortega.

"Everything is funded.  We're actually growing police and fire in a couple of areas, adding some money to some other critical areas that we've cut in recent past," said City Manager Joyce Wilson.

The budget does call for an increase in the police force, and offers no increase to the tax rate.  The city had an uphill battle during last year's budget battle, as tax revenues were down across the board, forcing cuts.

But, City Manager Joyce Wilson says this year, revenue has stabilized, and that should make the budget process smoother.

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