EL PASO (KDBC) — It was a long process for commissioner’s court to reach a balanced budget and not every request made to the county was included. The 301 million dollars county budget for 2014 is approved.
County commissioners spent weeks debating, reviewing numbers, cuts and finally reached an agreement.
"This was the most frugal budget we could pass; we had 38 million dollars in requests for new capital projects the only thing we could appropriate was 3.8 million," County Judge Veronica Escobar said.
The budget is 13 million dollars higher than last year.
243 million will be allocated for the general fund
30.9 million For special revenue
20.3 million For county debt
3.8 million For capital projects
2.4 million For the enterprise funds.
181 million will come from the 4.96 tax increase for property owners. That breaks down to a 20 dollar increase for the owner of a 100,000 valued home.
"There’s a whole range of departments that the county government is responsible for overseeing and a few weeks ago we have approved the tax rate and today we approve the budget that's going to guide us for the next 12 months," Precinct 3 Commissioner Vince Perez said.
Judge Veronica Escobar said the process was not simple.
"We are trying to do everything we can to balance the demands of a growing community with the limited resources that we have, and we're going to continue to do that so that we have a strong handle as possible on the 2015 budget." Escobar concluded.
All commissioners agreed work is not over. 2015 budget workshops will begin next month.
"When we go to strategic planning every year from now on and the future my recommendation is we plan around our expenditures and our revenue." Commissioner Sergio Lewis added.
There several factors behind this year's larger budget including court fees, raises for the sheriff's office, facility improvements, and the capital projects fund among others.