EL PASO — County Com missioners ayet again.
County Judge Veronica Escobar says its imperative that property taxes increase by $.05. She says county services are not sustainable without it. Based on an average home costing $117,000 that totals $63 a year. That news is getting mixed reaction around town.
" For them to make decisions that are gonna affect the citizens I don't think is something that they should just be able to do without getting the citizens' opinion or even the citizens' vote," said El Paso resident Christina Garcia.
Another El Pasoan, said it's part of being a tax paying citizen.
" It's $63 more dollars a year. I don't understand why that should be a problem as long as it's going to the right place," said John Davis.
The breakdowno of the $.05 increase is as follows:
$.02- bond issuance (like improving county equipment and buildings)
$.01- fund capital needs (debt)
$.01- sheriff's contract
$.01- raise for county employees
After years of giving tax payers a break, County Judge Escobar says it's time to give back to the county employees.
"The way we gave tax payers a break for those several years was we balanced the budget on the backs of the employees who deliver those services," said Escobar. She says she's warned the community that budget cuts at the state level would trickle down to the local level and that money needs to be made up somewhere.
But not all of the commissioners are in agreement.
" I just still have some reservations on increasing another penny when we've approved 110 million regarding the capital improvement plan," said County Commissioner Sergio Lewis.
Locals we spoke with say, it was bound to happen eventually.
"I think like everything else, you know the cost of living has gone up. We just have to you know deal with it. We don't like to pay more but for so long we have been paying at a flat rate basically so I feel it is ok," said Octavio Chavez.
County Commissioners will have two public hearings before a final decision is made regarding moving forward with the tax hike:
September 6th and 10th at 5:30pm.
The commissioners are expected to adopt a tax rate on September 17th just two weeks before the new fiscal year begins.