Is a Gated Community a Public Good?

Will it benefit you?

Tomorrow, City Council will consider amending the parameters of Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone 13, that TIRZ out in Northeast El Paso that covers the land that the City of El Paso traded Paul Foster for the land the City wants to put the Great Wolf Lodge on.

According to the proposal on City Council’s agenda, the new deal will increase the amount of the City’s participation in the TIRZ to 75%, and extend the life of the TIRZ to 50 years. That means that for the next 50 years, 75% of the increase in taxes that the City collects in TIRZ 13 will be retained by the TIRZ to be spent in the TIRZ.

Right now almost all of TIRZ 13 is raw desert. The Central Appraisal District value on that raw desert is low. Once they put a gated community out there, the appraised value will be high. The TIRZ board will retain 75% of the city taxes on that increased value.

The TIRZ board will use that money to maintain their streets. Build swimming pools. Landscape the neighborhood. All that stuff that the City of El Paso won’t do in your neighborhoods, because they don’t have the money.

Let me tell you what the taxes that the people pay in TIRZ 13 won’t do. They won’t be paying for public safety. Street maintenance. Debt service. The City Bureaucracy. The residents out there in TIRZ 13 will still be benefiting from all those public benefits, but only 25% of their taxes will be paying for them.

For 50 years.

Sweet deal, huh?

Yeah, for them, but not for you.


  1. Well, at least one area of town might have a shot at getting and keeping decent streets. There’s that. Maybe I can create one of them there TIRZ thingies out here in my neighborhood.

  2. If a private enterprise is so well funded and ambitious to have this type of plan, then why do they need homeowners tax dollars to support their grandiose ideas~? Why don’t they simply take on more funding from new partnerships to make this happen instead of placing a further burden on homeowners who will have zero access to this politically incorrect zone. The opportunity for growth is there ONLY when it’s funded at their own risk, NOT THE TAXPAYERS RISK~!

  3. So, right now the city is receiving virtually no tax revenue from the TIRZ nor is the county, hospital district, school district, or community college. If a gated community is placed there, and this is just a guess, I’d guess that the average home value is 250,000 which is probably low. If they place 500 homes, that would be 500 homes times $5,500 for a total property tax burden of $2,755,000/year. My own tax bill shows that the city portion of property taxes is approximately 30% so in this example the city portion would be $825,000/year. If the TIRZ keeps 75%, that leaves 25% to the city, or $206,250/year.

    The big question is, does the city break even at that level for any services that must be provided to the property in the TIRZ. If it does (break even), then the intangible is, will the presence of that property help attract people and jobs to El Paso who may want to live in a nice gated community and will companies come here who pay wages that allow employees to live there. Of course, many in our community believe that if everyone can’t afford a thing then no one should have it. In that event, then of course there should be no gated community. And we should stop worrying about bringing in clean, high paying companies.

    This is not a downtown baseball park that relies on a given number of El Pasoans who will attend games so that the Chihuahuas can pay the rent, which unfortunately, to date we have not achieved.

    I do have to agree that 50 years is a bit of a stretch. Twenty five would be much more palatable. And my own personal issue, leave the mountains alone, is that if the TIRZ encroaches more on the mountain, then it’s a no vote from me. But if the reason to oppose the gated community is simply class envy, then we should get over it

    1. I have nothing against rich people. I don’t envy them. Avarice is a disease like any other addiction.

      I care about efficiency. Supporting a gated community is the long way around to attracting industry.

      Our politicians argue that our property taxes are out of whack, that residential property owners pay too much, and commercial property owners pay too little. Then they grant tax amnesties to all the new commercial endeavors.

      What business (or individual) would move to a community with the highest property taxes and least service in the United States? Look at our roads. Look at the responsiveness of local government.

      City government has given up on attracting industry. Now they’re trying to turn El Paso into Palm Springs. And they want the El Pasoans that are already here to pay for it.

      They’ll never turn El Paso into Palm Springs. El Paso is geographically isolated. 15 million people live within a two hour drive of Palm Springs.

      Those rich people making the decisions, and their codependent City Council, are living in a fantasy world of their own making.

      They need to get out more.

  4. El Paso is more near Juarez, than to any city in the United States!

    1. True, but your average juarense doesn’t want to move to El Paso (even if they could). When the rich juarenses buy a house in El Paso, they keep their house in Juarez.

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