How Your City Representative Voted on Certificate of Obligation Debt

Max Grossman did the heavy lifting and went back to research how our elected representatives voted on various issuances of Certificates of Obligation. COs, you remember, is debt that city councils issue without giving taxpayers a chance to vote on it.

Among the six biggest cities in Texas, El Paso has the most debt from Certificates of Obligation, according to the Texas Bond Review Board.

That’s nothing to be proud of.

COs are usually issued for emergencies, or in the direst of circumstances. Everywhere, that is, except for El Paso.

Here are Dr. Grossman’s findings:

Svarzbein, District 1, authorized $408,800,000 in COs

  • 7/25/17 Allow COs for QOL bond projects, up to $100M per issuance. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $41.05M in COs for public safety and infrastructure. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $4.8M for the Paseo de la Luces. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $22.9M in COs for QOL bond projects. YES
  • 8/22/17 Authorize increasing City property tax $0.05 because of CO debt YES
  • 12/19/17 Borrow $15.5M for East Sports Complex. YES
  • 7/23/18 Borrow $20.8M in COs to increase funding for Children’s Museum YES
  • 8/23/18 Borrow $10,750,000 in COs to increase funding for Cultural Ctr. YES
  • 1/8/19 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2019 YES
  • 1/7/20 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2020 YES
  • 4/13/21 Authorize issuing $93M in COs, Series 2021A and 2021B YES

Annello, District 2, authorized $393,250,000 in COs

  • 7/25/17 Allow COs for QOL bond projects, up to $100M per issuance. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $41.05M in COs for public safety and infrastructure. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $4.8M for the Paseo de la Luces. NO
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $22.9M in COs for QOL bond projects. YES
  • 8/22/17 Authorize increasing City property tax $0.05 because of CO debt YES
  • 12/19/17 Borrow $15.5M for East Sports Complex. YES
  • 7/23/18 Borrow $20.8M in COs to increase funding for Children’s Museum YES
  • 8/23/18 Borrow $10,750,000 in COs to increase funding for Cultural Ctr. NO
  • 1/8/19 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2019 YES
  • 1/7/20 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2020 YES
  • 4/13/21 Authorize issuing $93M in COs, Series 2021A and 2021B YES

Hernandez, District 3, authorized $408,800,000 in COs

  • 7/25/17 Allow COs for QOL bond projects, up to $100M per issuance. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $41.05M in COs for public safety and infrastructure. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $4.8M for the Paseo de la Luces. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $22.9M in COs for QOL bond projects. YES
  • 8/22/17 Authorize increasing City property tax $0.05 because of CO debt YES
  • 12/19/17 Borrow $15.5M for East Sports Complex. YES
  • 7/23/18 Borrow $20.8M in COs to increase funding for Children’s Museum. YES
  • 8/23/18 Borrow $10,750,000 in COs to increase funding for Cultural Ctr. YES
  • 1/8/19 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2019 YES
  • 1/7/20 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2020 YES
  • 4/13/21 Authorize issuing $93M in COs, Series 2021A and 2021B YES

Molinar, District 4, $0

  • 4/13/21 Authorize issuing $93M in COs, Series 2021A and 2021B NO

Salcido, District 5, authorized $404,000,000 in COs

  • 7/25/17 Allow COs for QOL bond projects, up to $100M per issuance. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $41.05M in COs for public safety and infrastructure. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $4.8M for the Paseo de la Luces. NO
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $22.9M in COs for QOL bond projects. YES
  • 8/22/17 Authorize increasing City property tax $0.05 because of CO debt YES
  • 12/19/17 Borrow $15.5M for East Sports Complex. YES
  • 7/23/18 Borrow $20.8M in COs to increase funding for Children’s Museum YES
  • 8/23/18 Borrow $10,750,000 in COs to increase funding for Cultural Ctr. YES
  • 1/8/19 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2019 YES
  • 1/7/20 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2020 YES
  • 4/13/21 Authorize issuing $93M in COs, Series 2021A and 2021B YES

Rodriguez, District 6, $0

  • 4/13/21 Authorize issuing $93M in COs, Series 2021A and 2021B NO

Rivera, District 7, authorized $408,800,000 in COs

  • 7/25/17 Allow COs for QOL bond projects, up to $100M per issuance. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $41.05M in COs for public safety and infrastructure. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $4.8M for the Paseo de la Luces. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $22.9M in COs for QOL bond projects. YES
  • 8/22/17 Authorize increasing City property tax $0.05 because of CO debt YES
  • 12/19/17 Borrow $15.5M for East Sports Complex. YES
  • 7/23/18 Borrow $20.8M in COs to increase funding for Children’s Museum. YES
  • 8/23/18 Borrow $10,750,000 in COs to increase funding for Cultural Ctr. YES
  • 1/8/19 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2019 YES
  • 1/7/20 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2020 YES
  • 4/13/21 Authorize issuing $93M in COs, Series 2021A and 2021B YES

Lizarraga, District 8, authorized $293,300,000 in COs

  • 7/25/17 Allow COs for QOL bond projects, up to $100M per issuance. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $41.05M in COs for public safety and infrastructure. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $4.8M for the Paseo de la Luces. YES
  • 8/7/17 Borrow $22.9M in COs for QOL bond projects. YES
  • 8/22/17 Authorize increasing City property tax $0.05 because of CO debt YES
  • 12/19/17 Borrow $15.5M for East Sports Complex. ABSENT
  • 7/23/18 Borrow $20.8M in COs to increase funding for Children’s Museum YES
  • 8/23/18 Borrow $10,750,000 in COs to increase funding for Cultural Ctr. YES
  • 1/8/19 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2019 ABSENT
  • 1/7/20 Authorize issuing $100M in COs, Series 2020 YES
  • 4/13/21 Authorize issuing $93M in COs, Series 2021A and 2021B YES

Some of these Representatives are coming up for re-election. Some have termed out, and will likely run for a different office. Voters should remember that the Representatives who voted to take on all this extra debt think they know how to spend your money better than you do.

I disagree.

2 comments

  1. So much for self-proclaimed progressives…and kudos to Molinar, so far 100% opposed!

  2. The 2012 QoL projects were grossly underestimated. Guess who the CFO was then and where she’s been the last few years?

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