This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.

City of El Paso Taxes:  City officials on Monday will unveil a proposed tax rate of 81.9 cents per $100 of valuation, meeting what’s known as the “no-new-revenue” rate under state law.

The proposed rate is the next step in the city’s budget and tax setting process after receiving certified tax rolls this week from the El Paso Central Appraisal District.

Properties that were on the tax rolls last year increased in taxable value by 8.3% this year, to $3.65 billion. Additionally, the city had more than $115 million in new property valuation added this year that can be taxed.

The “no-new-revenue” rate is the property tax a government needs to levy to collect the same amount of property taxes this year as it collected on the same properties last year. The “no-new-revenue” rate is essentially viewed in state law as a no-increase tax rate.

Until last year, the El Paso city government routinely adopted tax rates above the “no-new-revenue” rate. But City Council and other officials would misleadingly claim to be holding the line on taxes because rates were the same as the previous year. That practice allowed the city government to take in millions of dollars in additional tax revenues off of rising valuations while claiming they weren’t raising taxes.

City Council members this year instructed the staff to create a budget with a “no-new-revenue” rate. The proposed general fund budget, which is funded primarily by property taxes and sales taxes, is increasing by $47 million this year. That growth is largely funded through an increase in sales tax revenue budgeted by city staff.

El Paso Independent School District students participate in its Read Across the District literacy initiative in 2022. Classes for the 2023-24 school year in EPISD resume on Aug. 7. (Courtesy EPISD)

Back to School: El Paso area students are heading back to class for the 2023-24 school year, the vast majority of them on Monday, July 31. That will mark the first day of school for students in the Anthony, Canutillo, Socorro, Tornillo and Ysleta independent school districts. Students in the Fabens district return to school Tuesday, Aug. 1. Students in the San Elizario district began classes on July 11 under a new four-day class schedule. Clint school district students began classes on July 24. Students in the El Paso school district start classes on Aug. 7, with the district hosting El Paso ISD Fiesta events celebrating the new school year with information booths, giveaways and school supply pickup from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4, at district high schools. Classes for students at El Paso Community College and the University of Texas at El Paso begin Aug. 28. The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso schools of nursing, medicine, dental medicine and graduate school of biomedical sciences have different start dates.

Tax-Free Weekend: While El Paso public school districts start fall classes on Monday or the first week of August, this year’s back-to-school sales tax holiday begins Aug. 11 and ends at midnight Aug. 13. The Texas tax-free weekend was started in 1999 by the state Legislature to help families save on their back-to-school shopping. Among the tax-free items are clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies, as long as they are $99 or less. The state law calls for the tax-free weekend to fall on the weekend before Aug. 15, which is historically the date classes resumed in Texas.