EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso County Commissioners Court will vote on the proposed tax rate for the 2024 fiscal year at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 28. The tax rate includes a pay raise for the county commissioners but also for employees at the University Medical Center.

The proposed operating budget would be for $1.4 billion the 2024 fiscal year, an over $18 million increase from 2023. Half of the budget covers salary and wages, employee benefits, supplies and pharmaceuticals.

For UMC employees, their minimum wage would increase from $14 to $15 an hour. The one dollar difference has been worked on gradually by the county and Commissioner Iliana Holguin says the wage increase is to better care for county staff.

“That’s important because we want our employees to be able to have a living wage, a wage that will support their families so that’s been very important for us. I’m glad to see that we’ve been able to do that for these past several years,” Holguin said.

Commissioners Court will have three options to choose from for the 2024 budget with each one costing the taxpayer in different ways.

“We have the ‘No New Revenue’ rate which is where the county doesn’t collect more in taxes for the residents than it did last year even though valuations may have gone up. We also have the current tax rate but the county would end up collecting more because of the increase in valuations and of course, we have the voter approval rate which is the highest rate that the county can adopt without voter approval, which will also lead to more revenue being collected,” Holguin said.

While some commissioners may favor one rate over another, Commissioner Sergio Coronado believes that all employees need to be treated fairly and create an overall better environment.

“We can’t keep doing that and care for our employees every year with raises to make sure that they keep up with inflation that will cover their living expenses. We can’t keep doing that and expect that inflation is not going to go up. It’s just the reality. I wish that we could not raise taxes at all,” Coronado said.

The meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 28, on the third floor of the County Courthouse, Room 303, 500 E. San Antonio.