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At the July 22, 2019 Budget Workshop, City Council discussed Coppell's General Fund, the largest fund in the City's budget.
The General Fund is the general operating fund for the City. It is used to account for all financial resources except those required to be accounted for in other funds, such as the Water and Sewer Fund or Special Revenue Funds.
The General Fund is the largest fund for the City, with proposed budgeted expenditures of approximately $71 million. The General Fund accounts for the majority of City services, including general government, cultural and recreation, public safety, and public works. Budgeted expenditures include salaries and benefits, supplies, maintenance, services, and capital outlays.
General Fund Revenues:
Property taxes comprise approximately 51% of General Fund revenues. In Coppell, approximately 41% of property taxes are collected from businesses.
While the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 2 – also known as the Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act – in 2019, the majority of the bill provisions, including new tax rate calculations, do not go into effect until January 1, 2020. Therefore, this new legislation, which calls for an election if the City wishes to raise property tax revenue by more than 3.5%, does not affect the FY 2019-2020 budget.
In addition to property taxes, the City receives significant revenue from sales taxes, the majority of which are collected from non-Coppell residents that commute to the City for work or business reasons and from business to business transactions.
The General Fund also receives reimbursements from various funds, revenues from franchise taxes, fees for services, and court fines.
General Fund Expenditures:
Over the past 10 years, the General Fund expenditures have increased by an average of 4% each year.
General Fund expenditures are grouped into four categories: Public Safety, General Government, Cultural and Recreational, and Public Works. As most quality of life projects are funded out of Special Revenue Funds, such as the Coppell Recreation Development Corporation, and other sources, the majority of expenditures from the General Fund are associated with hiring and retaining quality personnel that provide essential – and exceptional – services to Coppell residents and businesses.
Public Safety initiatives make up the largest portion of General Fund expenditures, approximately 42%. This category includes costs associated with the Municipal Court, Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Management, Police, Environmental Health, and Building Inspections. In Fiscal Year 2018-2019, the City authorized the hiring of 16 firefighters to support the addition of Fire Station 4. This will allow the Fire Department to continue to meet safe and effective response and service levels associated with recent growth and development, particularly commercial development on the city's west side, while providing a larger number of residents with necessary services and maintaining an ISO-1 rating. This year's budget includes the replacement of three fire engines and the first year of annual transfers to the capital fleet replacement fund for the next purchase. Providing an annual transfer over the life of the fire trucks from the General Fund to the Capital Replacement Fund allows the City to essentially save for the next replacement with little to no impact on the property tax rate when the Fire Department needs to replace these essential fire trucks.
General Government makes up 22% of the General Fund expenditures, and this category includes costs associated with City administrative personnel. Expenditures for the Mayor and City Council, Human Resources, Community Development, the Finance Department, and Enterprise Solutions, among others, are paid for from the General Fund.
Cultural and Recreational expenditures comprise 19% of the General Fund. These expenditures include costs associated with Library Services and Parks and Recreation. In the upcoming fiscal year, the City plans to replace outdated exercise equipment at The CORE and add additional landscaping equipment to ensure the maintenance and upkeep of our parks.
Finally, Public Works makes up 16% of the General Fund expenditures. These expenditures include costs associated with Engineering, Traffic Control, Streets, and Planning. Previously, the City used revenues from the General Fund to conduct a video analysis of the storm water system and a study on the municipal drainage district. City staff have used the results of these studies to plan for preventative maintenance projects to ensure that the City's infrastructure will continue to be viable into the future. In this year's budget, this fund will be used to add pedestrian safety crosswalks and routine maintenance projects that will help ensure that the community remains safe, walkable, and clean.
Shift from General Fund to Capital Fleet Replacement Fund
In previous years, large purchases for equipment and vehicles, such as ambulances and maintenance crew vehicles, were made out of the General Fund. Because these purchases are not routine, they cause a spike in General Fund expenditures. In order to avoid these large fluctuations to the Fund, the City Council supported the creation of a Capital Fleet Replacement Fund in Fiscal Year 2014-2015.
The Capital Fleet Replacement Fund is used strictly for the purchase of replacements for previously funded fleet and equipment items. With this fund, whenever the City purchases a vehicle or piece of equipment, a portion of the purchase cost is set aside in the Capital Fleet Replacement Fund. This fund will support the replacement of old Police patrol vehicles in Fiscal Year 2019-2020 and the eventual replacement of the three fire engines, which will help level out large, future expenditures in the General Fund. Proper funding levels in the Capital Fleet Replacement Fund also allow the City to make necessary operating capital purchases with cash, instead of increasing or issuing debt.
About the City of Coppell Budget:
The City of Coppell continues to see positive economic indicators in all areas of finance, including the City's AAA bond rating, growth in the tax base and surging sales tax receipts primarily due to thriving distribution centers and business parks. Expenditures, revenues, and reserves have been managed efficiently and proactively for many years, resulting in appropriate fund balances and a strong financial position.
"The City of Coppell is in a great financial position," said Mayor Karen Hunt. "City staff continue to do a fantastic job managing our public monies. We are very fortunate to live, work, and play in a city that places a high value on community and quality of life while focusing on maintaining what we have built."
The City of Coppell works diligently to be fiscally responsible and transparent, and the City continuously receives accolades from outside agencies regarding its financial planning and prudent budgeting practices. The City strongly encourages residents to get involved, attend public meetings and provide feedback on the proposed budget.
For more information about the FY 2019-2020 budget, contact the Finance Department at 972-304-3691 or visit coppelltx.gov/budget .