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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: 23 min 2 sec ago

Go ahead–do what you want

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 5:00am

Are they nuts?

The agenda item authorizing the city manager to sign a new agreement with the water park people contains this language:

“that the City Manager be authorized to sign an Economic Development Initiative Agreement in a form substantially similar to the attached documents…”

This involves more than $100 million of our money and they don’t even want to approve the final agreement.

What does “similar” mean here?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

City budget challenges

Mon, 10/28/2019 - 5:00am

Our city manager’s office included this slide in a budget update for city council:

They are now talking publicly about our lack of revenue growth and the costs of operating the quality of life projects.

If the proposed public safety bond passes this November what will be the effect on operating and maintenance costs?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Gotcha

Sun, 10/27/2019 - 5:00am

In a special city council meeting Monday, October 28, 2019 they will be changing the water park deal.

They do these things in special city council meetings to avoid exposure to the citizens.

They first plan to cancel the earlier agreement with Great Wolf.

Why?  Probably because their plan to give Great Wolf 100% of the sales taxes collected near the water park was going to run into trouble because the water park was not really a convention center.

Now it is

Our Texas legislature passed house bill 4347 in their last session.

One of the things the bill did was to qualify facilities that have at least 4,000 square feet of meeting space as a convention center.

In the agreement being cancelled the city promised to give the developer up to $40 million if Texas decided that our facility did not qualify as a convention center and thus would not be able to get the sales taxes collected from facilities around the water park.

Now that the water park and its adjoining meeting room will qualify the city is off the hook.

We however are not so lucky.

The sales tax money from stores near the water park would normally go into our general fund.

Now they will be used to fund the privately owned water park.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Open line Saturday

Sat, 10/26/2019 - 5:00am

Tell us what’s on your mind.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Personalities are the news

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 6:00am

Our major news outlets seem to be more concerned with personalities than they are with issues.

We more frequently read or see stories that focus on what a particular individual did or did not do than we read or see stories about what actions or legislation a particular government is about to do or just did.

That’s a shame.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Early voting numbers

Thu, 10/24/2019 - 7:12am

Early voting seems to be rather sparse.

1,048 votes were cast on Monday, October 21.

1,043 were cast on Tuesday, October 22.

Please ask everyone you know to vote.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

Categories: Local Blogs

Ysleta school bonds

Wed, 10/23/2019 - 5:00am

If you live in the Ysleta school district you get to vote on this:

The issuance of bonds in the amount of $425,000,000 for the designing, constructing, renovating, improving, acquiring, and
equipping school facilities, and the purchase of the necessary sites for school facilities, and the purchase of new buses to transport
students and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.

The district tells us that the cost will be $9.85 per month for a $100,000 home owned by someone under 65 years of age.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

State constitutional proposals

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 6:30am

The state has some questions on the ballot.  They are all proposed constitutional amendments.

  1. The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.
  2. The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development
    Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically
    distressed areas.
  3. The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion
    of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.
  4. The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual’s share of
    partnership and unincorporated association income.
  5. The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on
    sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas,
    water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the
    rate of the state sales and use taxes.
  6. The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for
    the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
  7. The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund.
  8. The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage,
    flood mitigation, and flood control projects.
  9. The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal
    depository located in this state.
  10. The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances

Number 3 strikes me as unnecessary. If property is damaged (whether by a disaster or any other way) its appraised value should decrease because it is worth less.

It would have been nice if our local news media had done a better job informing us of what the issues are behind each of the proposals.

The Times evidently did run an article but they only deliver my newspaper about 60% of the time.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Early voting

Mon, 10/21/2019 - 5:00am

Today is the first day of early voting.

In the city of El Paso the only issue (unless you vote in district 3 where there is a special city council election)  is whether we will authorize the issuance of $413,122,650 in bonds for public safety purposes.

According to the city it will cost $12 per year in year one for a $100,000 home.

In year two the cost will be $24 for that same home.

Year three will be $36, year four will be $48, five will be $60 and year six the bill will be $72.

Presumably it will stay at $72 for the life of the bonds.  The city reserves the right make the increases on a different schedule.

They also reserve the right to move the money around because after all they don’t really know what their suggested projects will cost.

Personally I can see the need for some new facilities.  I would prefer however that they actually figure out what they want and how much it will cost instead of asking for a blank check.

This is an arrogant money grab.  They evidently think that the voters will just give them a bunch of money and that they can decide what to do with it later.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

Categories: Local Blogs

Civil discourse

Sun, 10/20/2019 - 7:51am

The blog readers got into some disagreements Saturday.

We are appreciative that on the whole there was very little offensive name calling and most of the discussion did not seem to be personal.

Yes there were a few exceptions but on the whole people were civil.

We thank you.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Open line Saturday

Sat, 10/19/2019 - 5:00am

What’s on your mind today?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Another great honor

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 5:00am

Our readers pointed out to us the other day that the purchasing award the city recently got involved the city paying a fee of either $400 or $600 depending upon whether the city is a member of the organization.

Following up on that thought the city also receives a “Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting”.

Maybe the certificate is designed to make us feel better about what the city is telling us.

As it turns out the Government Finance Officers Association is the group awarding the certificate of achievement.

The city uses our tax money to pay for their submission:

Would the city tell us if they failed to get the certificate that they bought?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Double negatives

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 5:00am

The city hired an out of town firm to conduct a study of our downtown parking situation.

You can read it here.

The print is very light and difficult to read.

We did find this gem:

The consultants wrote:

We found numerous instances of overly worded and bureaucratic language  throughout all sections of the El Paso Code of Ordinances.  The use of double negatives and confusing language makes reading and understanding the code very difficult for the average citizen.

According to plan

This is part of how the functionaries down at the city maintain their power.

Will this out of town firm ever be hired again?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Award for innovation

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 5:00am

One of our loyal readers sent this in with the note “You can’t make this up”.

From El Paso Inc.

The National Procurement Institute has awarded the city of El Paso Purchasing & Strategic Sourcing Department the 2019 Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award. The award is earned by public and nonprofit organizations that obtain a high application score based on innovation, professionalism, e-procurement procedures, productivity and leadership. It is the sixth year in a row that the city has received the award.

Many of us can say first hand that they are innovative.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

False promise

Tue, 10/15/2019 - 6:34am

The city is adopting a new parking app named “Park 915”.

This slide is part of a presentation that will be made in a special city council meeting Monday, October 14, 2019.

Real time?

Supposedly the app will allow us to parking spaces that are available at the moment we look.

How can it do that?

If someone parks a vehicle in a spot and ignores the electronic app the spot is still going to be occupied.

We can see that the app could tell us if a spot is supposed to be unoccupied but confirming that a spot is open will require visual confirmation or electronic sensors.

Is this another case of over-promising?

 

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Lost dog proposal

Mon, 10/14/2019 - 5:00am

The slide below is what city staff is recommending that the city do relative to the “Lost Dog Trail” and other land where we voted with the following language to create an ordinance:

Shall an ordinance be approved to preserve in its natural state, for all time, the 1,107 acres
owned by the City of El Paso and referred to as “Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number
Twelve,” which includes the “Lost Dog Trail,” and to prohibit, for all time, any private development and
any major public roadways on said 1,107 acres?

This seems reasonable to me.  I think it says that the city would not have to buy the land and that after the restrictive covenants are created the land will be preserved.

I assume that changing the covenants would require city council action and supposedly the public would have an opportunity to weigh in at that time.

What do y’all think?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Comments don’t require sign on

Sun, 10/13/2019 - 7:36am

We saw some activity the other day from a reader who was complaining about his password to WordPress having to be reset multiple times.

It is not necessary to sign on to WordPress in order to make a comment.

Just follow the comments link below the post.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

Categories: Local Blogs

Saturday

Sat, 10/12/2019 - 8:26am

Saturday is open topic day.

Let us hear from you.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

 

Categories: Local Blogs

Declining birth rate

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 5:00am

El Paso is seeing a declining birth rate like most of the nation.

The county hospital shows these numbers for their first ten months of operation each year:

2017  2,458 births

2018  2,311 births

2019  2,200 births

That’s a 10.5% drop in two years.

Yet we continue to build new schools.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

Categories: Local Blogs


by Dr. Radut