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 EPQOL.com, 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 EPQOL.com 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.