6:30PM - 8:30PM // Town Center
3PM // Cozby Library and Community Commons
7PM // Cozby Library and Community Commons
9:30AM - 11:00AM // Life Safety Park
8AM - 9AM // Biodiversity Education Center
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The City of Coppell takes pride in its conservative approach and dedication to fiscal responsibility and transparency. The City continuously receives accolades from outside agencies regarding its financial strategy and prudent budgeting practices, and its history of effective financial planning has allowed the City to respond to the anticipated impacts of COVID-19 with minimal disruption to high-quality services and quality-of-life programs.
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.
Unlike many organizations, the City of Coppell’s fiscal year does not coincide with the calendar year. Instead, the City’s fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30. Historically, the City’s annual budget planning process began in early March, ramped up in July, and ran through September, when the budget was adopted by City Council. In Fiscal Year 2020-2021, as a result of new state legislation, the budget planning process has been expedited. The process now kicks off in February, public meetings begin in May instead of July, and the budget is scheduled for adoption in August.
“Our goal when it comes to the budget is to balance fiscal responsibility while making smart investments in the future and continuing to deliver the quality services and programs we are known for,” said Cayce Lay, Budget Officer for the City of Coppell.
What will happen during the budget process going forward?
In early February, City departments begin to prepare their operating budget requests and requests for enhancements, which are requests for items or services over $10,000, such as public safety vehicles. During this time, City staff adjust their routine operating budgets, acquire pricing for enhancements, and update their annual goals. In mid-March, all documents and requests are turned in to the Finance Department for review.
In April each year, the City will hold a Town Hall meeting for the public. Staff presents their current projects and major projects planned for the upcoming fiscal year. During the Town Hall, residents are encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback on things that they would like the City to include in the budget.
This year, the meeting was held virtually due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
In late April, the Finance Department and the City Manager’s Office meet with all departments to discuss budget requests and clarify projections. After these meetings, the budget begins to take shape.
The directors of all City departments meet in May to review the proposals, prioritize requests and incorporate the goals established by City Council. The Finance Department then develops a rough draft of the budget.
The City Manager’s Office and the Finance Department present draft budget information to City Council over the course of three months. During this time, three budget workshops and three public hearings are held and open to the public. At the end of May, the City begins discussing the different pieces of the budget with the annual meeting and public hearing on the Crime Control and Prevention District fund budget.
During the first workshop, this year on June 8, staff presents the draft budgets for the Water and Sewer Fund and Special Revenue Funds. City Council also hears presentations from local service organizations requesting City funding. Any funding assistance to local non-profit organizations approved by the City Council goes toward programs that have a direct impact on Coppell residents. Learn more about funding for local service organizations.
City Council reviews the Debt Service and General Fund budget in the second workshop, this year on July 9. The General Fund comprises approximately half of the City’s total operating budget, and it includes the bulk of the City’s normal operating cost.
Traditionally, on July 25 of each year, the City receives the certified property values from the appraisal districts, which are used to calculate the property tax bills. This year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the certified property values will not be made available to the City of Coppell until August 20. Certified estimated property values are expected to become available to the City on July 27.
Historically, staff adjusts the draft budget to reflect the certified values as soon as they are available. Then the Coppell City Council meets in late July for a budget workshop to conduct a final review of the proposed budget. During this workshop, staff traditionally present the Debt Service and General Fund budget based on the certified values. This year, the final budget workshop will take place on July 27. Because the City will not have access to the certified property values, the proposed budget and tax rate will be based on the certified estimated values.
Per City Charter, the proposed budget is to be filed with the City Secretary on August 5 of each year, and the document then becomes available for public review. Due to the legislative changes implemented by the State, the City will now publish a draft proposed budget on July 10. The draft proposed budget will fulfill only the legal requirements and will be significantly more condensed than the public has previously been provided. Once the City receives the certified estimated values on July 27, a new edition will be publicized in the historic long-format for review by the City Charter deadline.
Two public hearings will be held during the first regularly scheduled Council meeting in August, this year on August 11, to allow residents to provide feedback on both the tax rate and the proposed budget. City Council will then adopt a tax rate and budget at that same meeting.