At the July 22 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. All general tax revenues and other receipts that are not allocated by law or governmental accounting standards to other funds are accounted for in this fund.
The General Fund is the largest fund for the City, with proposed budgeted expenditures of approximately $63 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, transfers out, and capital outlays. The Fiscal Year 2021-2022 (FY 2022) proposed general fund expenditures represent an 8% decrease from amended expenditures in Fiscal Year 2020-2021 (FY 2021), and a 2% increase in Fiscal Year 2019-2020 (FY 2020) actual expenditures.
General Fund Revenues:
Property taxes comprise approximately 63% of General Fund revenues, which is an increase over previous years. Approximately 48% of property taxes are collected from non-residential sources, such as businesses and commercial/industrial properties. The City’s proposed property tax rate is $0.5800 per $100 valuation, which is the same rate adopted in FY 2021 and is anticipated to be below the no-new-revenue rate.
In addition to property taxes, the City receives 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. As a result of planning for the Texas Comptroller of Public Account’s Rule 3.334, the sales tax revenues projected for FY 2022 represent a 55% decrease from FY 2021 amended revenues.
The General Fund also receives reimbursements from various funds, revenues from franchise taxes and fees for services and court fines.
General Fund Expenditures:
Over the past decade, the General Fund expenditures increased by an average of approximately 3% each year. In 2019, however, City staff began scrubbing departmental budgets line-by-line to prepare for legislative action. The Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 2, which adds restrictions to revenue sources, and the Comptroller of Public Accounts proposed Rule 3.334, which significantly negatively impacts the City's sales tax revenue. In order to mitigate the revenue shortfalls that will result from these changes - in addition to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic - staff analyzed departmental budgets in depth to determine how to make the necessary expenditure reductions while maintaining the high level of quality city services Coppell has come to represent. In 2020, staff was able to reduce general fund expenditures by approximately 13%.
In addition to these reductions, the proposed FY 2022 budget includes a further 8% in cost savings over the current amended budget.
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 41%. This category includes costs associated with the Municipal Court, Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Management, Police, Animal Services, Environmental Health and Building Inspections. In FY 2021, the City replaced various emergency medical equipment such as AEDs, impact ventilators, and training aids, and this life-saving technology was paid for out of the General Fund. In this year’s budget, the City is planning to replace the computer equipment in the Fire fleet. 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 efficiently providing a larger number of residents with necessary services and maintaining an ISO-1 rating.
General Government makes up 23% 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, Community Information, and Enterprise Solutions, among others, are paid for from the General Fund.
Cultural and Recreational expenditures comprise 18% of the General Fund. These expenditures include costs associated with Library Services and Parks and Recreation. For example, in the upcoming fiscal year, the City plans to expand operating hours at The CORE and increase staff accessibility at the facility in order to better provide for customer requests and needs.
Finally, Public Works makes up 17% of the General Fund expenditures. These expenditures include costs associated with Engineering, Traffic Control, Streets, and Planning. In the past year, the City used revenues from the General Fund to make necessary updates to fleet equipment and software to ensure continued efficiency and availability of the City’s fleet vehicles. In this year’s budget, General Fund expenditures increased slightly, as the City shifts its focus to redevelopment of infrastructure. In the upcoming fiscal year, this fund will be used to add pedestrian safety crosswalks and for scheduled facility and streets maintenance projects that will help ensure that the community remains safe, walkable, and clean.
For more information about the General Fund, visit coppelltx.gov/901/General-Fund. Keep up to date with all things budget at coppelltx.gov/budget.
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