City staff learns to spin

October 19, 2017

The Escondido street meeting situtation has been rolling around in my head.

One of the problems was that the city sent out a letter inviting people to a meeting about “bike lanes” but when the meeting started the city officials went to great lengths to inform the attendees that the meeting was about the “restriping” of Escondido and that bicycle lanes were a consequence of the restriping.

How much money does it cost to paint stripes on a street?  Why would the city send five administrators to a neighborhood meeting to discuss a work order that would only take one or two days to complete?

Then again why would the city be restriping a street where the stripes are in fairly good condition, no better or worse than the other streets in the neighborhood?  Does the city hold a neighborhood meeting every time a street gets painted?

City staff was not telling the truth.  The meeting was about bike lanes.  Restriping was their way of trying to change the discussion.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

I guess that TXDOT could claim that they are just restriping I-10.

We deserve better

Brutus


Quality of life dying a slow death

October 18, 2017

Back in 2012 the voters in the city approved $473 million worth of bonds for various projects.

Five years later we can see the city’s progress in this chart that city staff presented at the July 11. 2017 city council meeting:

Wow, $29 million dollars in only five years.

 

 

 

At this rate we should look forward to completion in 81 years.

We deserve better

Brutus


Factually wrong and unfair

October 17, 2017

Our current mayor wrote a piece for The El Paso Times the other day in which he said that a letter our current state senator recently sent to the mayor and city council was “factually wrong and unfair”.

After arguing that the city has no intention of building a “sports arena” the mayor wrote “Rather , the city will build a multipurpose, performing arts and entertainment center.   In reference to the location of the arena …”.

He might of called it an entertainment center instead of an arena if he really intends to obey the judge’s order and not allow sporting events in the facility.

Later the mayor wrote about the senator’s claims about ballpark financing.  The mayor wrote “Also, the models showed there would be a subsidy from the City’s General Fund until the growth in HOT and team revenues caught up”.

A July 7, 2013 article in El Paso Inc. told us:

Originally, hotel occupancy tax revenues were to pay for $48.7 million of the stadium cost with the remaining $4.1 million covered by ticket surcharges and stadium-generated sales taxes – money that would first go into the city’s general fund.

We doubt that the Inc. was lying.

Unfortunately the city is having to subsidize the ballpark with money  above and beyond ticket surcharges and stadium-generated sales taxes.

Authorization

On June 26, 2016 city council passed a resolution that allowed the city manager to proceed with the ballpark deal.  When it came to financing the ballpark, the resolution said:

Financing Ballpark Construction.  The City Manager is authorized to proceed with the proposed financing plan, which ultimately may be modified to include the possible use of (i) a venue hotel occupancy tax if approved by the voters at a duly-called election; (ii) lease revenue bonds issued by a local government corporation formed by the City; and/or (iii) other debt obligations issued by or on behalf of the City for the construction and development of the Ballpark.

The resolution allowed three methods of financing, none of which included general revenue from the city taxpayers.

A good idea

In his conclusion the mayor wrote “I respectfully ask that you get your facts correct”.

Either the mayor is misinformed or he is not telling the truth.  Either way he does not have his facts correct.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

 


Contractors get railroaded over city streets

October 16, 2017

This came in from an alert reader:

City of EP council agenda for Monday discusses the street CIP and in the middle of the 38 pages talks about the 135 street, $37M bid to go out the 17th.

Interesting that they notified vendors on the TxDOT, NMDot, Arizona DOT about the bid.

It appears they really don’t want a local firm to get the bid nor will they break it up so several contractors might get a piece of it.

And the CSP Evaluation factors will probably be written such that most local contractors won’t be qualified.

Thank you Sam Rodriguez – the new city engineer.

The bid package is expected to come out the 17th.

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You might want to read Neighborhood streets get the axe if you haven’t already.

We deserve better

Brutus


El Chuqueno should be on your reading list

October 15, 2017

This post on El Chuqueno sums up our situation as well as any that we have heard.

We deserve better

Brutus


Neighborhood streets get the axe

October 14, 2017

City council is going to have a special meeting Monday, October 16, 2017.

Evidently in this case a special meeting  is one where they want to do something but don’t want the public to know about it or to show up to the meeting.

What they plan to do in this special meeting is to renege on previous commitments to pave neighborhood streets.

It looks like they don’t have enough money to maintain our main thoroughfares and so they want to take the money allocated to neighborhood streets and spend it on the big ones.

This chart tells you what they are up to:

Reprogrammed in this case means taken away from what was promised and spent on something else.

The street paving that is being reprogrammed here takes two slides:

Residents on those streets will just have to wait.

If you are inclined to go down to city council and complain please remember that you will only be allocated 3 minutes to speak and that if a bunch of you show up they will limit the number of people that get to talk.

Doing this in a special council meeting is cowardly.

We deserve better

Brutus


Escondido meeting

October 13, 2017

The residents living around Escondido Drive in west El Paso had their meeting with some of the city’s staff Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 6PM.

One of the attendees gave us an earful about what happened.

This is what we understood from the resident:

Evidently the meeting started with a city employee thanking everyone for their attendance and then informing the crowd (60 or so people) that the purpose of the meeting was to inform the public about what the city is going to do (in other words the decisions have already been made).

It went downhill from there.

The presenter then told the group that questions would not be taken until the city people were through making their presentation.

The project was categorized as “the restriping of Escondido”.  It was explained that restriping involves considering changes that have occurred since the last painting as well as other things that the staff thinks are a good idea.  Oh, and by the way, staff is required to consider the city’s adopted bicycle plan when restriping.   But the crowd needed to understand that this was really just a maintenance issue and new bicycle paths were just incidental to the project.

That explanation flies in the face of the letter that the city sent selectively to some residents:

Some residents informed the staff that the design that will be implemented is defective and then pointed out ways that bicycles could be accommodated without destroying traffic flow and endangering safety.  City staff evidently argued aggressively with some of the citizens.

At one point a resident asked “How do we stop this?”.  He was told that staff would not stop implementation but that the residents would have to take the matter up with city council.

We deserve better

Brutus


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