Tomorrow’s City Council Agenda

Tomorrow should be rip-roaring City Council meeting.

City Council will vote tomorrow on an item limiting their own ability to place items on future agendas.

If the mayor’s proposed ordinance passes, all items placed on the agenda will need the support of two representatives.

As former Representative Lily Limon pointed out in a comment on this post on ElPasoSpeak, this raises the possibility of a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act, if a council member shops a proposed agenda item to other members of City Council. If three members of council decline to support an agenda item, the fourth member contacted will constitute a walking quorum.

Not that rules were ever a big thing for City Government.

Maybe the biggest change to the City Council meetings is that they’ll now begin at 9:00 a.m., instead of 8:00.

But the presentation I’m most looking forward to is a review of major budget revenues from the Interim Director of Municipal Budget Operation Robert Cortinas. In his PowerPoint presentation, Mr. Cortinas indicates that property values from 2017 to 2018 grew from $33.4 billion to $33.9 billion, an increase of $500 million, or one and a half percent. If those numbers are not adjusted for inflation, and the PowerPoint doesn’t say, that represents an actual loss in property valuations, because inflation was two percent last year.

Also, I find it curious that Mr. Cortinas only breaks out the causes of change in residential property valuations and doesn’t address commercial property valuations. Is it because commercial property valuations aren’t a “Major Revenue Source”?

And how about this factoid: Since 2011, property tax valuations have only increased 11% in El Paso, while in the rest of Texas cities, property tax valuations have increased a lot more. Like 75% in Austin, and 45% in Corpus Christi, and even 25% in Laredo.

Some people will seize on that information and tell you we need more public works amenities. Like higher taxes will slow our descent.

They only tell you that because they think that you’re stupid.

There’s a lot of meat in Mr. Cortinas evaluation, and I’m looking forward to chewing on it later.


  1. I question the new start time. City Council barely finishes before 3 PM now. He’s either going to further limit public time OR the Council meetings will head for 5 o’clock. What’s the purpose of the late start?

  2. It appears that tomorrow will be the first reading of the ordinance regarding the placement of items on the agenda by council members. No public comment is accepted during the first reading. The public hearing will occur on Feb. 6.
    17. Goal 6: Set the Standard for Sound Governance and Fiscal Management:
    An Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 018746 regarding deadlines and procedures for placing matters on the Agenda for City Council Meetings to require concurrence of two additional City Council Members in order for a Council Member to place an item on the City Council Agenda.
    All Districts
    Mayor Dee Margo, (915) 212-0021

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