Light at the end of the tunnel?

Did you see this story in the El Paso Times?

On Tuesday, the City Council was supposed to take action on approving about $355.2 million worth of projects, including $228.2 million for three major signature projects — the multipurpose arena, the children’s museum and the Hispanic cultural center.

But the item was postponed until Monday so council members can review the list of projects and the economic impact the debt issuance on the projects will have on taxpayers.

“We are talking about $300-plus million dollars and it’s important to look at that and make sure everything is included in there as we look at what the impact will be on taxpayers,” said Mayor Oscar Leeser, who proposed postponing the item. “I want to be able to study and look at the financials and then ask questions … It’s very important that we don’t act on emotion, but act on knowledge that we do have.”

That’s good. Or it could be, if City Council decides to postpone these useless vanity projects that don’t fulfill a real public need. I’m sceptical that will happen.

Mark Sutter, the city’s chief financial officer, said the issuance of bonds for the current list of projects that feature improvements for parks, libraries and the zoo represent about $83 more a year on a $100,000 home. The calculation was based on a direct property tax, which does not include the tax portion that homeowners pay to the school districts.

El Paso property taxes rates are already among the highest in the nation. Expect another ding from the County, and the University Medical Center, and the Children’s Hospital. I’ll be surprised if the Community College doesn’t want to wet its beak, too.

Remember, these QoL projects were pitched as drivers of economic development. Having the highest property tax rates in the nation is not conducive to economic development.


  1. Meanwhile, inquiring minds would like to know why our streets continue to deteriorate all around town? No repaving anywhere that I have seen. The only maintenance I ever see is the occasional patches for the growing number of potholes. I’d like to remind Council and voters that you also cannot hope to attract business, or grow your economy, or revitalize anything if your streets look like a Third World Country.

  2. Frivolous, expensive projects that serve no one. One certain failure after another. It’s embarrassing. Can’t wait for my neighborhood to be ruined by the trolley to nowhere while all the area landlords salivate over the potential to raise rents. I guess sometimes “progress” looks a lot like insanity.

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