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City of El Paso debt=$2,670,400,000, county and school district debt=$1,600,000,000. Total $4.27 billion. Your share $19,350
Updated: 21 min 2 sec ago

How not to try to attract industry

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 5:00am

The Lincoln Institute and the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence jointly publish an annual report comparing property taxes among the 50 states.

The report for the 2018 tax year is out.  You can see the whole thing here.

This year’s report lists El Paso as having the highest property tax rate on industrial properties of the top 50 cities in the United States.

The report shows three breakdowns: smaller industrial firms (land and building value up to $100,000), mid-sized firms (land and building value up to $1 million), and larger firms ($25 million).

We had the highest tax rate in all three categories last year.

Is this the way to attract industry?

We will probably read some comments about the local governments granting tax abatements to incoming industrial firms.  Remember that those abatements have a finite life.  After that the firms end up paying the regular tax rate.

The people that operate those firms have to pay property taxes on their homes, or if they are carpetbaggers through their apartment rentals.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

EPISD agenda trick

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 7:55am

EPISD held a special board meeting Monday, June 24, 2019.

From the agenda:

Subject of Meeting 1. Call to Order 2. Meeting to be Closed under Sections 551.071 and 551.072 of the Texas Government Code as follows: A. Consultation with Legal Counsel Concerning Legal Issues Relating To: 1. Sale of Surplus Properties IFB 19-008 and Contract of Sale Between EPISD and MIMCO, Inc. for the Property Known as NE Tennis Center, Described as a Portion of Tract 5, Block 6, Castner Range Subdivision No 1, City of El Paso, El Paso County, Texas; Pursuant to Texas Government Code Sections 551.071 and 551.072 Closed Session Verbiage Any final action as a result of this discussion will be taken at the re-opening of this meeting, later during the Open Session or at a subsequent meeting. 3. Discuss and Take Appropriate Action Regarding the Sale of Surplus Properties IFB 19-008 and Contract of Sale Between EPISD and MIMCO, Inc. for the Property Known as NE Tennis Center, Described as a Portion of Tract 5, Block 6, Castner Range Subdivision No 1, City of El Paso, El Paso County, Texas (To allow the Board to take action if needed) 4. Order Canvassing Returns/Votes and Declaring Results of June 15, 2019, Board of Trustees Runoff Election (To comply with Texas Election Code Sections 67.002, 67.003, 67.004, and 67.016) 5. Oath of Office to Members of the Board of Trustees (To administer the Oath of Office to newly elected Trustees in Districts 3 and 6) 6. Election of Board Officers (To comply with requirements in Board Policy BDAA [Legal and Local]) 7. Selection of Delegate and Alternate to 2019 TASA/TASB Conference (The assembly is the foundation of TASB’s governance structure and provides critical direction as TASB represents members’ interest before state and national policymakers) 8. Adjournment

Notice that they planned to hold a closed meeting and then come out into open session and vote on what to do.

What is really significant is that they scheduled doing this before items 4 and 5 which would recognize new board members.

Evidently the old group did not want the new guys to mess things up.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Open line Saturday

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 5:00am

Its Saturday so the readers set the agenda today.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

EPISD pay raise

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 5:00am

This came in from Dan Wever:

Media people are saying that EPISD teachers to get a 6% raise.  I doubt this but the Superintendents salary is tied to teacher raises and here are his annual increase with 4,5 and 6%. 4% $14,511 5% $18,139 6% $21,766.80 If they get the 6% that will make his base salary $384,546.80 with the $30,000 cash benefits stipend in his contract makes it $414,546.80.  He also gets 35 vacation days which he can and must sell back to the district at his daily rate if not used by end of July.  This makes his vacation days worth $56,182.74which he usually cashes in.  Of course, then you have an $18,000 car allowance and a $14,400 home office annual allowance.  Then you add his retirement (TRS) benefits, Medical and Dental care, 1,000,000 life insurance policy a 20,000 dollar annuity and various other perks. I had said that he was the highest paid superintendent in the State and someone challenged me on the statement showing me the Cypress-Fairbanks Supers salary and then I showed them that that superintendent works 250 days while ours only works 226, however, Cypress guy does have twice as many students. And do not even try to compare what Cabrera spends on social functions, dues, etc…………………………………You cannot! If he sticks around about 10 more years all the students will be gone and the budget will be his salary! 
Categories: Local Blogs

Can this be true?

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 5:00am

David K over at Refuse the Juice wrote this in a recent blog post:

“Streetcar” update… A friend reached out to tell me they were in El Paso last week and road the trolley.  She mentioned something about a baseball derailing a care recently, but was otherwise happy with her ride.  She had to take an Uber back to her hotel, though.  The whole thing struck me as funny.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Ballpark lease

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 5:00am

There were some questions last week about the contract between the city and the group that owns the Chihuahuas.

This post from some time back will provide some details

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Where is the Times actually printed?

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 5:00am

Am I mistaken in my belief that the Times is still printed in El Paso while the layout and design are done out of town?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Reader poll

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 5:00am

Frater Jason has recently written comments about people learning more about our Constitution.

Should the blog start a series of posts that reprint the Constitution?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

In the wrong place

Sun, 06/23/2019 - 5:00am

Jaime Abeyta over at The Lion Star Blog wrote a piece recently that contained this:

If you recall I wrote a piece about how its completely stupid that superintendents sit on the dais with the elected trustees of a district. There is no practical reason for doing so and quite frankly, its actually really bad policy that trustees don’t show the backbone to make the superintendent sit with the rest of staff.

The reality is that Trustees are elected to represent the people and there is only one employee the Trustees supervise – the superintendent. The fact that they allow the superintendent to sit with the elected members of the board as though they are somehow a peer of those elected by the people, is a big problem. How is the community to have any faith that you’ll hold the supers accountable when they sit up on the dais like they are one of you? And not only do they sit there with the trustees, they almost always sit right next to the board president, in a place of more prominence than the rest of the actual elected members of the board.

Like I said before, people would lose their mind if Tommy Gonzalez or the County Administrator sat up on the dais with the elected body.

**********************************

 

I agree with Mr. Abeyta and my agreeing has nothing to do with the current superintendent.

If George Washington was the superintendent I would still say that his place is with the staff, not on the dais.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Speak up

Sat, 06/22/2019 - 6:42am

Its Saturday so the readers get to pick the topic.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

This is not on time performance

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:00am

Can anyone inform us as to the status of the new Sun Metro Brio routes?

According to the Sun Metro website the Alameda route is scheduled to be up and running “Mid 2018”.

The Dyer route is scheduled to be up and running “Late 2018”.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Part time reporting

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 5:00am

We had a runoff election Saturday.

Sunday morning I expected to read about the results in The El Paso Times.

They did not have an article covering the results.

They did have  full pages of obituaries in section A on pages 2 and 4 with pages 3 and 7 having more.

Evidently the election was important enough to be the headline article on Monday.

It looks like we have lost the Times.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

A young patriot

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 5:00am

This came in as a comment the other day.

I believe that it deserves its own post:

Today is Flag Day and I manage a flag program for the Kiwanis of El Paso that places flags at homes & businesses on 5 patriotic holidays a year. I received this special note today that made me feel what we do is really worth it. Here goes:

“I really do appreciate the fact that you do this — it cannot be cost effective for you but the presentation is really effective.

Let me tell you a true story that happened this last Memorial Day.

First, I have a flag on top of my house that flies 24 hours a day and with the wind in this area it needs to be replaced often.
Being Memorial Day, I wanted a beautiful clean flag for the occasion.
As I was replacing my flag pole I noticed your flags being installed on my lawn and a scout (I think) stepped back and saluted each installation.
And then I was noticed on the roof placing my flag. He looked up and saluted that as well.
I got to tell you that I choked up with emotion for what he did and I am now as I write this am doing the same.

I got to tell you that in today’s world, this type of exhibition is, sadly, unheard of. I was and am seriously impressed.

Thank you for what you do,”

Categories: Local Blogs

Closed meetings violations

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 5:00am

The other day we wrote about apparent open meetings violations that the city committed recently.

The next day in a regular city council meeting their agenda contained the following after showing a portion of the meeting would be in executive session:

“Discussion and action on the following:”

The agenda then listed 12 items that they planned to handle in executive session.

The problem here is that they cannot take action in executive session.  They must do it in open session, which is open to the public.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Father’s day greeting

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 5:00am

Today is Father’s Day.

I found this quote:

Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father” – Barack Obama

Happy Father’s Day.

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Open line Saturday

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 1:28pm

It’s Saturday.

What are you thinking?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

On the border situation

Fri, 06/14/2019 - 5:00am

Alligators ‘n Roadkill has an interesting post about the border situation.

You can read them here.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

Categories: Local Blogs

Call for articles

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 5:00am

From time to time I like to remind the readers that the blog is open to posts from contributors.

Feel free to email me at brutusep@yahoo.com

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Open meetings violations

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 5:00am

If the following two documents are correctly done our city council and our city attorney are in flagrant violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

They held a special city council meeting on Monday, May 13, 2019.  They posted an agenda that told us that they would be considering seven items.

The agenda for the special city council meeting on Monday, May 13, 2019 can be read here.

The minutes of the meeting reflect an entirely different story.  From the minutes:

“The agenda items for the Regular City Council [meeting] of May 13, 2019 were reviewed.”

According to their minutes they reviewed items from a future city council meeting.  They have the right to do that but it has to be on the agenda of the meeting where they do it.  In this case it was not.

According to their records they did not have a regular city council meeting on May 13, 2019 but they did have one on May 14, 2019.

The May 13, 2019 meeting was a special city council meeting that had a publicly posted agenda.  That agenda did not include the items that were to be considered in the meeting the day after.

However the minutes of the May 13 meeting indicate that they did consider items that were going to be part of the May 14, 2019 meeting.

According to the Texas supreme court “The notice [agenda] must be sufficient to apprise the general public of the subjects to be considered during the meeting. ”

The minutes of that meeting can be read here.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

Categories: Local Blogs


by Dr. Radut