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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: 10 min 50 sec ago

Sampling the goods

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 5:00am

As part of the agreement with Great Wolf the city actually requires them to do certain things, like this:

Evidently the city will get 100 complimentary room nights each year.

It will be interesting to see who gets to use them.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Trading land you don’t own

Sun, 11/04/2018 - 5:00am

There has been a lot of activity talking about the water park the last few days.

Part of the package involves the city trading property with a local land owner.

The city then plans to lease their newly acquired land to the resort company.

The rest of the story is that the city does not own the land it plans to trade.  Our water utility does.  The city is planning to buy the land from the water utility and pay for it over a 30 year period.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Hotel occupancy tax issue

Sat, 11/03/2018 - 5:00am

Good government oxymoron wrote this the other day:

A percentage of the HOT tax was approved soley for paying for the stadium.

How is the city legally allowed to waive it or rebate it back to a hotel???

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

That got us to wondering so we found the ballot language that the voters were asked to approve.

VENUE PROJECT AND HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX PROPOSITION

“AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF EL PASO, TEXAS, TO DESIGNATE THE MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL STADIUM PROJECT AS A SPORTS AND COMMUNITY VENUE PROJECT WITHIN THE CITY IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAW AND TO IMPOSE A TAX ON THE OCCUPANCY OF A ROOM IN A HOTEL LOCATED WITHIN THE CITY, AT THE MAXIMUM RATE OF TWO PERCENT (2%) OF THE PRICE PAID FOR SUCH ROOM, FOR THE PURPOSE OF FINANCING SUCH VENUE PROJECT.”

Good government oxymoron is right.

According to the Texas comptroller of public accounts:

The city of El Paso collects the municipal hotel occupancy tax at 7 percent to support an auditorium and convention center, and in 2012 introduced an additional 2 percent levy via a venue district hotel tax for a multipurpose sports stadium. Combined city HOT taxes totaled $13.1 million in fiscal 2015.

The documents with the water park specify the hotel occupancy tax rebate at 7 percent.  It looks like the city is respecting its obligation on the 2 percent but the comptroller’s explanation seems to mean that the other 7 percent is also allocated and the city cannot re-purpose it.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Impossible occupancy rate

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 5:00am

John Hogan made this comment that we believe deserves it’s own post:

One article I read said that the Great Wolf Lodge could bring 500,000 people to El Paso per year. That’s a really rosey outlook because with 350 rooms, that would require every room to have 4 people in it 365 days a year.

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

It is good to see citizens taking a critical look at the baloney that these people are spewing.

Unfortunately no one on city council brought this up.

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Young voters

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 5:09am

It should not be a surprise that EPISD has been working to get their students who are old enough to vote registered as voters.

https://www.episd.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=101&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=24569&PageID=1

The penny swap election will affect the district.

Maybe one of our readers can tell us what their student was told by the school about the pro’s and con’s of the issue.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

 

Categories: Local Blogs

No locals allowed

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 5:30am

Don’t plan to go to the new water park.

If you look up the Great Wolf Resorts on the web you will see that the water park is “Exclusive to resort guests”.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Taxed to the max

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 5:00am

Be aware that if the voters choose to allow EPISD to add ten cents to their operations and maintenance rate the district will be at the maximum rate ($1.17 per hundred dollars) allowed by the state.

The district has promised to lower their interest and sinking fund rate by ten cents, thus leaving the total tax rate the same as last year.

The district can raise their interest and sinking fund rate generally without limit in order to pay debt.

They cannot raise their operations and maintenance rate by the ten cents they are seeking without an election.

Wait until next year.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Duck for cover

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 5:00am

City council has the water park issue on their agenda this morning (Tuesday, October 30, 2018).

Three of the city representatives are up for re-election next week.

Will council take action on the issue or will they postpone this in an effort to avoid voter reaction?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Water park land lease

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 5:00am

The new water park will be located on city land.

The owners will pay the city $1,000 per year to lease the land with a $5,000 purchase option for the hotel land and a separate $5,000 option for the convention center land.

The lease is for fifteen years and the tenant will probably not exercise the purchase options since while the land is owned by the city there will be no property taxes due.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Unfortunate headline

Sun, 10/28/2018 - 5:24am

The Wednesday, October 24, 2018 headline of the Times set a new low standard for the paper.

District 6: Seasoned rep vs. student

The article belonged in the editorial section.

We deserved better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

New water park

Sat, 10/27/2018 - 5:00am

Item 22.4 on the Tuesday, October 30, 2018 city council agenda provides incentives for a company to build a convention center and convention center hotel in west El Paso.

This is the water park that has been the subject of recent speculation.

The estimated investment by the company is $150 million.  They are telling us that about 600 jobs will be created.

In return the company will receive:

100% city property tax rebate for 15 years.  The city’s rate is .843332 per hundred dollars of valuation.  That comes to $1.26 million per year in tax relief at the current rate.

100% city sales tax rebate for 15 years

50% hotel motel tax rebate for 15 years.  The tax is 17.5% of the room rate of which the city normally gets 11.5%.  That means the operation will collect the 17.5% and then get 5.75% returned to them by the city.

TIRZ 10 will fund $526,100 in infrastructure and safety improvements.

The park will be at 6850 Paseo Del Norte, across the street from the new Walmart.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

EPISD–administrative costs

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 5:00am

Evidently EPISD is doing a better job controlling their administrative costs than the other local districts.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Don’t talk to me

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 5:17am

I saw a business card on the asphalt of a parking lot in a strip mall the other day.

After picking up the litter I saw evidence of a new phenomenon.

The card listed a telephone number and under the number “texts only” was printed.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

Categories: Local Blogs

EPISD–financial rating

Wed, 10/24/2018 - 5:50am

It doesn’t look like things are getting better at EPISD, at least from a financial perspective.

For 15 years the district achieved the highest rating and now they have fallen into the lower half of the above standard rating.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

EPISD debt service

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 5:00am

This is the ballot language relating to the EPISD issue:

“APPROVING THE AD VALOREM TAX RATE OF $1.41 PER $100 VALUATION IN THE EL PASO ISD FOR THE CURRENT YEAR, A RATE
THAT IS $0.0647 HIGHER PER $100 VALUATION THAN THE SCHOOL DISTRICT ROLLBACK TAX RATE, FOR THE PURPOSE OF
GENERATING ADDITIONAL STATE FUNDING TO SUPPORT THE DISTRICT’S COMPENSATION PLAN AS ADOPTED ANNUALLY
INCLUDING THE ONE-TIME EMPLOYEE STIPEND IN 2018-2019, TO EXPAND ACADEMIC PROGRAMMING, AND TO SUPPLEMENT
FUND BALANCE. IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THE CURRENT TAX RATE, IF VOTERS APPROVE THE $1.41 TAX RATE, THE BOARD OF
TRUSTEES WILL REDUCE THE INTEREST AND SINKING RATE BY $.10, TO REDUCE THE TOTAL TAX RATE TO $1.31, WHICH IS
EQUAL TO THE TAX RATE FROM 2017-2018.”

The problem

Their 2018-19 Official Budget report shows:

Their existing interest and sinking rate (before the election) is $.24.  From that they estimate raising $37,913,980.  If they lower the rate by ten cents they will raise about $22.1 million.

That leaves them with just enough money to pay the interest on the bonds but none of the principal.

Also according to state law they can raise the interest and sinking fund rate next year without fear of triggering a roll back election.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Early voting

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 5:00am

Early voting starts today.

Please go vote.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Unfortunate answer

Sun, 10/21/2018 - 5:00am

I think our local candidate for the United States senate could do with some better advisers.

When he was recently asked about his nickname he told the audience that in our community if you are named Robert or Albert or Gilbert or Umberto the community calls you Beto.

His statement is not true.

If he had told us that he uses the nickname because his mother, father, other relative, childhood buddies or someone else called him that I don’t think that most of us would give it a second thought.

Instead he misrepresented our community.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Automatic pay raises for city council

Sat, 10/20/2018 - 5:09am

One of the ballot items on the upcoming election asks if we want to change our city charter.

From the ordinance that puts the issue on the ballot:

Prior to September 1, 2019, the annual base salary of the District Representatives shall be set at twenty-nine
thousand dollars, and the annual base salary of the Mayor shall be set at forty-five thousand dollars.

Commencing on September 1, 2019, the annual base salary of the District Representatives shall be set at
the amount equal to the 2017 El Paso County area median household income as established by the United
States Department of Housing and Urban Development or successor agency ($45,300), and the annual
base salary of the Mayor shall be set at one and one-half this amount ($67,950). Thereafter, on September
1, the base salaries will be revised annually and be set according to the above formula based on the prior
fiscal year median income for El Paso County.

Ballot language

What the voter will see on the ballot is:

Should Section 3.2 of the City Charter, relating to the salaries of the Mayor and District Representatives,
be amended to provide that beginning September 1, 2019, the annual salary of the District
Representatives shall be set each year at the amount equal to the El Paso County area median household
income as established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development or successor
agency for the prior fiscal year, and the annual salary of the Mayor shall be set each year at one and onehalf
that amount?
YES ( )
NO ( )

Too much trouble

They evidently think it is too much trouble to ask the voters for a pay raise when they want one.

A 56% pay raise would be nice for you, wouldn’t it?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Out of our control

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 5:00am

We have a city council election coming up in a couple of weeks.

City council representatives are elected to four year terms.  The can serve a maximum of ten years during their lifetime which effectively limits them to two elected terms.

One problem with this is that the current incumbents know that this is their last election.  They have no need to do what the public wants during their second term if we give them one.  They cannot be re-elected.  Recalling them is very difficult and has not been successfully in modern times.

Voting for an incumbent is something you should think about.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

You pick the topic

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 5:19am

I have no idea where this will lead but let’s open the comments to what the readers want to talk about today.

Remember please don’t get personal and don’t use profanity.

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs


by Dr. Radut