All You Need to Know About Prop 11


The measure would amend section 59 of Article 16 of the Texas Constitution to authorize the state legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds to fund parks and recreational facilities and levy property taxes to repay the bonds. Conservation and reclamation districts are “governmental agencies and bodies politic and corporate with such powers of government and with the authority to exercise such rights, privileges and functions concerning” the conservation and development of the state’s natural resources. Districts have elected boards that govern its functioning.

I used to think that owning a popular parking lot was the best business. Maybe you re-stripe every five years, and seal coat it every ten. The rest of the time you just count the money.

But now I’ve decided that the best business to own is a government.

Proposition 11 lets Conservation and Reclamation Districts residents hold elections to approve the sale of bonds for parks and recreational facilities. Conservation and Reclamation Districts are little mini-governments. They hold governmental powers, like the ability to tax, to support certain functions that you might expect a governmental body to do, like streets and streetlights.

Metropolitan Utility Districts are Conservation and Reclamation Districts.

These little mini-governments proliferate in El Paso County. According to this website, which an alert reader hipped me to, there are 19 Conservation and Reclamation Districts in El Paso County.

Would owning a little mini-government be a great business? It’s better than owning a parking lot, because you have to re-stripe a parking lot every few years. You get to charge taxes. And once your little government is established, no one who lives in your MUD can opt out.

If you’re a resident of a MUD, and you vote against the issuance of bonds, with their concomitant increase in taxes, and the bonds are still approved, you will have to pay those taxes or sell your house.

Here are some highlights from that website:

“If you build it, they will come.” Oh, that’s right. All our politicians live in a Field of Dreams. So far, it hasn’t worked.

“All bonds will be funded within El Paso County, . . . without burdening the state.” Think of the poor state! When they say that all the bonds will be funded within El Paso County, that means that El Pasoans are going to pay for it, and not some poor suckers in Austin or Galveston or Bastrop. You, El Paso Municipal Utility District Taxpayer.

Right. “In places like Colorado Springs . . . .” Because there’s not a lot of difference between El Paso County and Colorado Springs. I mean, Colorado Springs is technically in El Paso County. Did you know that there’s an El Paso County in Colorado, too?

” . . . the legacy for future generations in El Paso County.” Right. A legacy of debt. Future generations of El Pasoans are already burdened with more debt than they can afford.

The way I read it, only the people who live in a Municipal Utility District are liable to pay ad valorem (property) taxes for the bonds issued by that district. So if you don’t live in a MUD, this Texas state constitutional amendment won’t mean much to you.

According to Ballotpedia, the measure is supported by State Representative Joe Moody and El Paso Water.


  1. Rich, good analysis. Any place else and Prop 11 would be a slam dunk. But in El Paso, it could be another tool in the hands of debt-addicted politicians who are driven by political largess from the Usual Suspects. So we can expect bond issues for that benefit their plans and property. Like the new “water park” that EPWU is paying for on Foster’s NE barony, otherwise know as TIRZ 13, disguised as an “enhanced arroyo.”

    For more perspective, see my recent op-ed at

    I hate to be against conservation because I am a conservationist. But my preference is for designating public land as public access, like Lost Dog. Not land on private property, e.g., TIRZ 13. So not sure if I will abstain from voting either way on Prop 11 or just vote no. Decisions…

  2. Well…any one want a deck park over I-10…that’s probably the first item on the list once this amendment is passed…meantime, have to wonder why we need new residents, to make the water shortage even worse? And spread that sprawl? Will El Paso be better if there are a million people here?

    1. Who owns the air rights over I-10? TXDot? The city? The county? Who or what? Could that entity issues bonds to build a freeway deck for another Mountainstar stadium?

      1. Not under Prop 11. And a couple of years ago the State of Texas prohibited any city from approving Certificates of Obligation for Quality of Life amenities. The voters will have to approve the financing of a freeway deck park.

        1. Wish I thought the proponents wouldn’t figure out a way to get this done…

  3. Too bad the majority of El Paso’s registered voters will either continue to be apathetic and not vote OR … will vote in the affirmative on all propositions because they are ignorant/uninformed.
    As for the deck park over I-10–has anyone ever given thought to the noise pollution and exhaust fumes emanating from what would be underneath?
    Does anyone remember the truck accident a few years ago?
    The possibilities for disaster are endless.

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