The Other Shoe Drops . . .

but it hasn’t hit the ground yet.

The El Paso Times reports this morning that Mayor Oscar Leeser vetoed the sale of $44 million in Certificates of Obligation necessitated, in part, by those pesky Quality of Life bonds voters approved in 2012.

Chief Financial Officer Mark Sutter said several city projects would be funded by the bonds, including a restroom in San Jacinto Plaza; additional funding for aquatic centers and spray parks; capital improvements to the police parking garage; and public art. The funding would also go toward quality of life projects and streets projects whose cost estimates were lower than needed, he said.

. . .

Leeser said increased funding should be included in the city’s budget for the coming fiscal year if funds approved by voters in the 2012 quality of life bond are not sufficient to complete the projects.

. . .

City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said he has advised the council several times that projects from both the 2012 bond and the streets capital improvement program approved by the council the same year did not have accurate cost estimates.

Seems like I remember that the QoL advocates said those projects wouldn’t raise our taxes much. Remember? From the El Paso Inc.

As El Paso taxpayers look ahead to the Nov. 6 quality of life bond election, some are asking how the city can pay for all those projects and everything else without imposing huge tax increases.

The city’s chief financial officer, Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria, confidently says it can.

. . .

The city is currently carrying $878 million in bonded indebtedness.

Do a little quick math [to add the debt from the QoL and other projects] and that adds up to $1.6 billion in debt – an 81 percent increase. But the quick math would be wrong, Arrieta-Candelaria said.

The quality of life bonds will be sold not all at once, but over seven to 10 years, starting with $33 million in 2014 with the first payments the following year.

Meanwhile, the city’s older debt will be dropping rapidly.

Over that time, the city’s tax rate, now at 66 cents per $100 valuation, will rise by only 5 cents, she says, peaking for two years before starting to decline.

See, the math was wrong. Not the motivations of whose “public servants” who crammed half a billion dollars worth of QoL projects into the gullets of gullible taxpayers who couldn’t believe that their representatives would straight up lie to them.

Woe are we, El Paso. They act so nice and then they stab us in the back.


  1. Smile and shake their hands while you put the knife in their backs. Sadly, this is politics, and not only here.

    Are there groups, websites, or any resources that are willing and able to REALLY attempt to educate the people of El Paso on the decisions made that affect them? And I don’t mean government sites that pay lip-service to being visible and open by posting things in language not easily understood on websites and documents that are buried layers deep in other garbage.

    1. You mean like an advocacy newspaper? Like someone who does real investigative journalism and analysis? David Crowder does a good job with the reporting, but the El Paso Inc. is just as beholden to the major players as the El Paso Times. They’re not going to step on anyone’s toes to enlighten the electorate.

      The other night I had the opportunity to talk to a couple of smart, educated guys, critical thinkers, and they were as poorly informed as everyone else. Because the real analysis, the truth, never reached them.

    1. I’ve been thinking we should build the wall through the Anthony Pass, and leave El Paso south of it.

  2. I love that statement, “It’s only ‘some piddling sum’ a year more.” When you add up the “piddling sum” from the city, the county, epcc, the hospital, school districts, the water, gas, and electric utility, that adds up to a sizeable chunk of change. As a matter of fact, if you add them up, that’s an increase of 300 to 400 dollars a year for a 100,000 dollar home. Someone needs to hit all the taxing entities with a clue hammer to remind them that they don’t have an endless checkbook. People are already starting to leave for greener pastures.

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