I can’t imagine the City of El Paso keeping next year’s budget under an amount that won’t require at least a 3 1/2 percent increase in tax revenues.
Look at our upcoming expenses. The obligations from the new contracts with our police and firemen. The Children’s Museum. The water parks. The Eastside Natatorium. Operations and Maintenance for the swimming pool, the streetcar, and the ongoing debt service for the ballpark.
The Hispanic/Chicano/Latinx Cultural Center and Main Library makeover. Neighborhood Rec Centers. Sun Metro.
All the money pits we’ve built, or are planning on building, including the ones we don’t even know about.
And the City’s still fighting for the $250 million downtown arena. God have mercy on us if the City wins that lawsuit. Not only will we be servicing a $250 million debt, we’ll have to pay Operations and Maintenance on that white elephant as well.
And what if the citizens are duped into financing that half a billion dollars for Public Safety bond?
With stagnant population growth, and moribund economic development, the money for those expenses will have to come from our existing properties.
Which means that the City will likely exceed the 3 1/2 percent rollback rate, and petitions will trigger a rollback election, which will likely succeed in forcing the City to come up with a new budget.
At which point, the City will likely hold us hostage.
“What do you want me to cut?” the Mayor often asks.
Public safety? Street maintenance?
How about all those useless vanity projects that much of El Paso has been railing against since their inception?
I suspect it will get ugly.
I attended the Public Safety Bond meeting for the public in the NE last night. I was one of three members of the public who attended. I think there were about six city staff representing fire and police at the meeting plus the Assistant City Manager Ms. Dionne Mack who gave the presentation. I hope more people start going to these meetings. Someone at the meeting mentioned that the City might directly inform the neighborhood associations of these meetings. Perhaps the City could hold special meetings with each neighborhood association as they do for City Council members. I’m sure NE Rep. Dr. Morgan’s meeting on this issue will be much more heavily attended as his meetings usually are.
I believe one of the issues last night was that operations and maintenance, new vehicles and recruiting/training of new staff for fire and police are NOT part of the bond because the City staff felt it would not be accepted by the public due to the expense. Can anyone confirm that?
I would like to suggest that the city postpone any unspent money on the 2012 Bond fund, including the “signature projects,” until we fully implement the Public Safety Bond – IF it is passed. What do you think would have happened in 2012 if the City had asked the public, which would you prefer – Quality of Life or Public Safety? By 2012 the City Manager knew the lack of maintenance, lack of operational funds, and lack of funds for vehicles and staffing needed police and fire and yet the City Manager and City Council chose “Quality of Life.” A mystery to me.
What Marilyn said. 100%.