Proud to thwart transparency

July 16, 2019

As part of the city’s 2020 budget process this slide was included to tell us what their legal department did last year:

Note that they tell us that they processed 5,469 open records requests.

They seem to be proud of the fact that they got the Texas attorney general to support denying release of information on 482 of them.

They could of told us that they handled the requests so well that on average they responded within X days, thus providing good service and promoting transparency.

Instead they focused on telling us how often they were able to deny information.

We deserve better


Searching for a solution

July 15, 2019

This slide comes from the city’s preliminary budget presentations for 2020:

Note that they plan to stabilize our tax base next year.  That will be hard to do.

They plan to expand the downtown efforts, talk to the other local governments, and work on incentive policies.

In other words they haven’t figured out how to do it yet.

We deserve better


City property tax rate increasing?

July 14, 2019

Max Grossman sent this in:

The El Paso Times and KTSM are reporting that the City of El Paso wants to raise our property taxes by $0.04, to a total of $0.88 per every $100 of valuation. I have taken the liberty of updating the City’s property tax chart to show what this new increase will look like. The City will have raised our property tax by 33% in only seven years (!!!), far beyond the other local taxing entities. This is in spite of the fact that our population is not only flat, but actually declining. As we know, El Paso has the second highest homestead property tax among the fifty largest cities in the United States–and that is before the proposed tax hike.


We deserve better





July 13, 2019

We had a lively day on the blog yesterday.

Today is Saturday so the readers get to pick the topics.

We deserve better


Highest property tax rate

July 12, 2019

Some of the other local blogs have been talking about El Paso having the second highest tax rate among the 50 largest cities in the United States.

Below is the bottom part of a chart found on page 69 of the June 2019, 50 State Property Tax Comparison Study for taxes paid in 2018:

Yes for median value homes without assessment limits we have the highest (that means that we are number 1) property tax rate among the 50 largest cities in the United States.

Note that our rate of 2.64% is more than twice the national average

City staff is recommending that council add another 4 cents to the rate this year.

It seems that they are also recommending that council call a bond election that if passed would add another 15 cents to the rate.

We deserve better





Keeping track of who said what

July 11, 2019

Recently some of the regular readers of the blog have contacted us about the use of “anonymous” as a name.

No one was concerned about the right to anonymity.  Instead they were having difficulty addressing their responses to the right comment.

Their concern could be alleviated if people used unique names or pseudonyms when they make a comment.

It would not be necessary to use the same pseudonym each time.

Do as you wish, however please remain civil and keep it clean.

We deserve better



It could happen, but I’m not holding my breath

July 10, 2019

I doubt that I will get my wish but here are some things I would like to see in our next Mayor:

  • Understanding the statutes that are in place that control how our city government is allowed to operate and seeing to it that those statutes are obeyed
  • A practice of conducting city business in view of the public.  The Texas Open Meetings Act allows closed meetings (AKA executive session) for limited reasons, not because city council wants to avoid public input or observation.
  • A view toward spending that recognizes we have limited resources, that we have basic needs that are not being fulfilled, and that those needs need to be fulfilled before spending money on things that might be nice but that we cannot afford
  • A decent respect to the opinions of the citizens
  • The understanding that elected officials are the servants of the citizens, not their bosses

We deserve better


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