El Paso County Texas is struggling to make ends meet just like other counties around the country.
And it recently announced that it would be raising property taxes – a bold move in a tough economy. As it turned out, $5.3 million in expenditure cuts wasn’t enough to avoid a property tax increase.
So despite layoffs and some creative accounting to adjust some fund balances, El Paso County is doing what few counties across the country have attempted – it is raising property taxes during one the biggest economic downturns since the 1929 depression.
One of the steps the county is taking to help boost revenue during these tough times is to use its clout to crack down on a series of uncollected funds – with the goal of using these aggressive steps to help the county avoid increasing taxes further.
For instance, those who don’t pay their back child support in El Paso County are denied the opportunity to renew their driver’s license. Under the county’s Scofflaw Vehicle Registration Denial program anyone who owes that county a fine, can’t register their car until the fine is paid off.
Unpaid traffic tickets are one of the other areas of uncollected fines.
Some of these areas don’t sound like they have much revenue generating potential. However, each year El Paso County is owed an average of $15 million in unpaid fees. Looking back over a ten year period the county is owed over $150 million by its citizens.
As a result, even modest efforts to collect unpaid fees have the potential to balance the budget.
Where does all of this leave you as a resident of El Paso County Texas?
You are living in one of the few counties across the country that has dared to raise property taxes - and you are living in a county that is moving forward with aggressive collections of unpaid fines.
Now is not the time to avoid paying fines and fees in El Paso County – you could face a nasty surprise when it is time to renew your car registration!