Dear Friends and Media,

Aaron Montes of the El Paso Times covered today’s budget discussion during the City Council Work Session.

The City announced that the budget impact from COVID-19 in FY 2020-2021 will be $86.4 million: $26.4 million this fiscal year (ending September 1) plus an additional $60 million in FY 2021.

As a result, City Council just voted to cut the pay of thousands of employees beginning May 24 and put over 400 employees on furloughs which could last for up to one year.Reps. Svarzbein, Annello and Hernandez cast dissenting votes.

It was also announced that the City deposited a $119 million check from the federal government, courtesy of the new CARES legislation, but can only spend $1 million of the funds because they may only be used to cover COVID-19 expenses.

The City will be left to fend for itself and must implement deep budget cuts in order to avert a financial catastrophe.

Tomorrow, City Council is set to vote on suspending the construction of the Multipurpose Performing Arts and Entertainment Facility and the Cultural Heritage Center in order to ease the pressure on the budget.