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To most, the topic of the annual city budget is neither exciting nor interesting. But this year has been challenging for all of us, the City included. Despite the pandemic and all of the curveballs that we have all faced this year, the City was able to maintain continuity of government with minimal impact to service. I am hopeful you will see why your City Council and City staff believe we have a good story to tell.
The end of 2019 and 2020 have presented challenges for all of us individually. The City of Coppell has also experienced some challenges – mostly in changes to sources of revenue.
With direction from City Council, City of Coppell staff started studying departmental budgets and planning for reductions immediately after the passage of SB2. That planning was intensified with the announcement from the Comptroller's Office regarding the change of rules and definitions concerning sales tax collections. The first action taken by the City was the implementation a hiring freeze. Then, each department came to the table with projects that could be delayed or cancelled. We are also preparing for some permanent changes.
With an eye to the future, the anticipation of revenue changes and advanced planning prepared Coppell well for the effects of the pandemic on sales tax revenue in this fiscal year and for the years to come. Amid all this uncertainty, City continues to receive recognition for financial practices. Coppell's AAA and Aaa investment ratings were recently reaffirmed, lowering the City's interest rate and saving money for taxpayers. Our planning and transparency are second to none.
Now let's talk about the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget that Council voted to approve on September 15, 2020. The budget includes tax rate of $0.5800 per $100 valuation, which is a decrease over the current rate of $0.58400. The lower rate will allow the City to continue to provide high-level service in our core responsibilities of Police service/safety, Fire and EMS services, Public Works maintenance, streets, and infrastructure. This new budget will go into effect on October 1, 2020, and it includes significant expenditure reductions over the current budget:
Thank you to everyone for the kind words and notes of support, patience and grace during the last several challenging months. As we look toward the future, your City Council and staff will continue to work to ensure that Coppell not only remains a stable partner with businesses and residents, but also continues to innovate to improve municipal services. More challenges lay ahead, and we are not out of the woods yet. But I am hopeful for the future and appreciate your patience and grace.
Here is a summary of how the City was able propose a decrease to the current rate:
Here are a few new definitions that could be helpful when you review budget document: