EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso City Council passed a Fiscal Year 2023 budget that includes a decrease in the city’s tax rate of 4.48 cents.

The proposed budget would lower the tax rate to 82.24 cents per $100 of valuation.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the average taxpayer will be paying less this year, however, since property valuations have been on the rise the past few years.

The council also approved a new collective bargaining agreement the city’s firefighters. The agreement includes an annual 3 percent salary increase for the next four years, in addition to the annual step increase of 5 percent, unless you are already at the maximum step.

The new firefighters contract also provides improved benefits, increased vacation time and incentive pay for specialized training, a city news release stated.

Other highlights in the budget include: a net increase of 60 police officers and firefighters in preparation for new police and fire stations and the purchase of new police cars; a $10 million allocation for street resurfacing; another $2.3 million for traffic safety and neighborhood traffic mitigation; and operating costs for the new children’s museum, the Mexican American Cultural Center, the penguin exhibit at the zoo and new regional park, all slated to open next year.

The City is also increasing the minimum wage for its workforce by 9 percent next year.

For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store