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The Coppell City Council worked diligently to ensure that Coppell maintains its high-quality services while also respecting residents’ pocketbooks. At a special called meeting on September 15, City Council voted to approve a fiscal year 2020-2021 budget and tax rate of $0.5800 per $100 valuation. This tax rate is a decrease from the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 tax rate, is below the no new revenue rate and will take effect on October 1, 2020.
The budget includes a 13% reduction in expenditures over the Fiscal Year 2019-020 budget. City of Coppell staff began scrubbing departmental budgets line-by-line in 2019, as a result of legislative action. The Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 2, which adds restrictions to revenue sources, and the Comptroller of Public Accounts proposed Rule 3.334, which significantly negatively impacts the City's sales tax revenue. In order to mitigate the revenue shortfalls that will result from these changes – in addition to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – staff analyzed departmental budgets in depth to determine how to make the necessary expenditure reductions while maintaining the high level of quality city services Coppell has come to represent.
Other budget highlights include:
Please note, the budget schedule was extended due to COVID-19 related delays and closures.
The City began planning for the loss of sales tax revenue as a result of Rule 3.334, which has to do with the allocation of sales tax revenue in the State of Texas, when it was proposed by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in December 2019. While planning for the impact of Rule 3.334 in late 2019, City departments analyzed their budgeted line by line to identify expenditure reductions. The City also immediately instituted a hiring freeze and capital reductions. In total, the City was able to identify approximately $5.6 million in expenditure reductions. Thus, the City had identified and implemented reductions to expenditures prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, the City analyzed existing fund balances to determine the best strategy to mitigate the impact of the expected remaining revenue loss. The City identified two fund balances that will be used to cover the revenue reduction that cannot be accounted for through reduced expenditures: funds that City Council had previously set aside in the City's designated fund balance for use should an issue arise, and a fund that Council had previously set up to be used in case of revenue threats. Transfers from the Water/Sewer Fund and allocations from other fund balances are also being used to mitigate revenue reductions.
As a result of early planning, the City of Coppell has been able to account for 99% of the expected $9.2 million revenue loss due to the pandemic through expenditure reductions and fund balance reallocations. The City has been able to maintain continuity of government without drastic changes to necessary staffing levels or further reductions to capital improvement projects.
The City strongly encourages residents to get involved, attend public meetings and provide feedback on the proposed budget.