by Rich Wright
From the website of the City of El Paso:
“The [Public Service Board] has complete management and control of the El Paso Water Utilities, the operation and maintaince [sic] of its water and wastewater systems and all of its assets including real estate, approves the budget, and sets rates and fees.”
Can we trust them to run El Paso Water when they can’t even build a coherent paragraph? Let’s all chip in and get them Grammarly.
So I Guess We Know Who to Blame
The seven members of the Public Service Board meet once a month, for which they are compensated $25, the last time I checked. Not very much money for a lot of responsibility.
Or Is It?
Come on. Do you think that PSB has complete management and control of the El Paso Water Utilities? Their rates and real estate? Then why are we paying President and CEO John Balliew an annual salary of $322,312, and the Board Members only get $300 a year?
Apparently the purpose of the Public Service Board is to rubber stamp El Paso Water’s decisions.
Now That’s Uncomfortable
According to its website, Paul Foster and John Balliew are both members of the Executive Committee of the Borderplex Alliance. Do you think maybe Mr. Balliew has drunk the Kool Aid that the Bordplex Alliance serves at its board meetings? Or are he and Mr. Foster just Good Ol’ Boys?
The Board Speaks
In a letter to the El Paso Times, the chair of the Public Service Board Ivonne Santiago defends the Board’s decision to spend $15 million of ratepayers’ money to build Paul Foster a water feature at his new luxury development out in Northeast El Paso.
EPWater recently celebrated the groundbreaking of this multimillion-dollar project in Northeast El Paso that will use stormwater runoff, reclaimed water from the nearby Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant and non-peak treated river water to replenish the Hueco Bolson. The project has long been part of El Paso’s 50-Year Water Plan, which projects population and water resource needs for our region.
The Public Service Board, which governs EPWater, is proud to support this award-winning model project, with its many welcome features. The creation of the Enhanced Arroyo Infiltration Facility in the first phase will boast nature trails along an arroyo and a wetland habitat for area wildlife. Once complete, El Pasoans will bike or walk along the 2-mile Enhanced Arroyo while the basin recharges the aquifer. The project is on public land and will be open for all El Pasoans to enjoy.
The second phase will expand the Nevins Pump Station, about 5 miles away, and provide piping to the arroyo, conveying Rio Grande water for aquifer recharge once demand has been met. This project deposits “banked water” to be available for withdrawal later when the Rio Grande is in short supply.
Business as usual.
You’ll remember that this website already griped about this current manifestation of public money for private greed.
Nobody is arguing that we shouldn’t recharge the aquifer. But El Paso Water is already doing that. What they haven’t done yet is build an expensive pipeline to bring a water feature to Paul Foster’s development.
If recharging the aquifer is the goal, why not just put it into the ground where it is?
Why are ratepayers subsidizing a pet project of one of El Paso wealthiest citizens? It’s bad enough that a 50 year, 75% Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone incentivizes Mr. Foster’s sprawl in the El Paso hinterlands. Now the Public Service Board wants to drop a lot more cheddar to make sure Mr. Foster is happy.
It’s just business as usual, Chuco-style.