This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
Case Dismissal Hearing Set for Monday: New hearings on the El Paso Public Defender’s office motions to dismiss 600 more cases are expected to begin on Monday, according to Public Defender Kelli Childress. A magistrate judge has already dismissed nearly 400 criminal cases because prosecutors have taken too long under Texas law to indict the cases — a time limit of about 180 days after someone’s initial arrest. About half of the already dismissed cases were for misdemeanor charges, which carry sentences of up to six months or a year in county jail.
County Adopts Tax Rate: The El Paso County Commissioners Court on Aug. 22 adopted the no-new-revenue tax rate that is lower than last year’s rate. But the average value home will still see a slight increase of close to $12 next year in the county’s portion of the property tax bill. The Commissioners Court adopted a tax rate of 42.628 cents per $100 valuation, about 4 cents lower than this year’s rate of 47 cents per $100 valuation. However, because of increased property valuations and a growing shift of tax burden from commercial to residential buildings, the average value home with homestead exemptions next year ($163,195) is expected to pay $696 in county taxes. Last year the average appraised home with the same exemptions ($145,420) paid $684 in county property taxes.
Some School District Taxpayers to See Savings: Many El Paso homeowners will pay slightly lower school property taxes this year, thanks largely to an increase in the homestead exemption approved by Texas voters in May. However, many homeowners in El Paso’s rapidly growing outer areas will still pay more in the school district portion of their property tax bill because increasing property valuations wiped out the savings from the expanded homestead exemption. El Paso ISD set its new rate at $1.3137 per $100 valuation, down 4 pennies. That will save a homeowner living in an average value home (who files a homestead exemption) $43. Ysleta ISD’s new rate is $1.4589, a 6-cent drop, which results in a $148 savings due to the additional homestead offered by the district. Socorro ISD lowered its rate by about 2 cents, but the average homeowner will see their bill rise by $41. Under Canutillo ISD’s new rate of $1.3029, down 3 pennies, the average homeowner will pay about $91 more.
Clarification: This story has been updated with additional information regarding the homestead exemption.