EL PASO, Texas -

Emotions ran high as the Central Appraisal District Board of Directors adopted its budget Thursday.

The C.A.D. looked to adopt a $13 million budget, but the board ended up adopting a tighter one at $12.7 million.

That came at the cost of employee pay increases and other benefits. It's a move that frustrated many employees.

"The concern is, if we're not getting cost of living increases and a performance increase, but we're also having to contribute whatever that may be," C.A.D. human resources manager Gabrielle Melendez told ABC-7. "There are some employees who have said, 'This is tight for me.'"

Employees packed the room as board members discussed how to trim down the budget. The big cuts came from the C.A.D's contingency fund, which is like a rainy day account.

It was cut in half, to 5 percent from 10 percent. The other big cut came when the board removed vision coverage. While the board approved the budget, more cuts to retirement, health and dental may be revisited.
The C.A.D. is the agency that places values on every property in El Paso County. The employees are usually the target of property owners' anger during tax time. Melendez told ABC-7, cuts to their compensation make the employees feel more unappreciated.

"We know we're not liked," Melendez said. "And we have a very hard time in the summer. We have a lot of people here and they're upset. They think we're raising their taxes. We have to educate them. And we're very willing to do that and our staff does that very well. And they do it with a smile on their face."

The budget will be sent to the county's taxing entities for approval. Each taxing entity -- like cities and school districts -- each contribute a percentage to the C.A.D. budget.