EPISD bond management

November 15, 2018

Ross Moore sent this in:

The purpose of this E-Mail is to update you on the EPISD 2016 Bond.  There have been several significant developments over the past month. These include issues in management, finances (your property taxes), project costs and project status.

1.     Management. There is another major shakeup in the senior management of the 2016 Bond both on the District and Project Manager side of the house.

   a.     The Executive Director for the Bond Projects, Carlos Gallinar has resigned.  I will note his predecessor resigned under a cloud.

b.    The EPISD Project Lead for Jacobs Engineering has resigned.

c.    The CBAC has been delayed to 12.6.2018 from 11.15.2018.  I will note the CBAC has been vocal in its concerns about management, finances, projected costs and projects status.

2.    Finances (Your Property Taxes).  The Financial Markets have turned against EPISD over the past two years.  They will affect Property Tax rates.

a.    The 10 Year Treasury Bond Interest Rate has risen steadily for the past year.  It is the benchmark that drives the Bond Market.

b.    The higher the Interest Rate goes, the more it costs EPISD to borrow money.

c.    The more it costs EPISD to borrow money, the higher your Property Taxes go.

d.    Well over half the 2016 Bond hasn’t been put on the Bond Market, yet.

3.    Project Costs.  Inflation, Hurricanes, Tariffs, and Labor Costs have driven up Project Costs over the past two years.

a.    It looks like Project Costs were underestimated in 2015/2016.

b.    Demand for materials, like steel, aluminum and cement, have increased nationally and locally.

c.    Steel has gone up 16% since the Bond vote in November 2016, as an example. Impact of Trump Tariffs have not hit yet.

d.    Downscaling projects has already begun.  What happened to Andress will happen elsewhere.

4.    Project Status.  According to EPISD, two years after the Bond Election, this is the status of major Projects.

a.    In Design– 7

b.    In Procurement – 9

c.    Under Construction – 2

i.     Crockett ES – Work has begun.

ii.     El Paso HS – Nice ceremony, actual work “Someday soon.”

d.    Completed– 0


Robbing our schools and hospital

November 14, 2018

The land (for the water park deal)  that the city is trading so that it can give it away for $1,000 per year with a $10,000 buy out was formerly owned privately and was taxed around 54 thousand dollars a year by the city,  $29 thousand a year by the county,  $98 thousand a year by the Canutillo independent school district, $9,000 a year by our community college and $16,307 yearly by our county hospital.  The total comes to $188 thousand each year.

Now that the city owns the land those taxes go away.

Further

If the land is actually worth the $18.6 million that we are told the owner wants the tax situation would be different.  The annual taxes would be $597,686.00.

Because the city has assumed ownership of the land, and thus the land cannot be assessed property taxes, the other entities are going to lose money also.

Using the claimed $18.6 million figure the Canutillo district will lose $284,580 per year for the ten years that the city will own the land.

The city tells us that homeowners pay a disproportionate part of the property tax (compared to businesses and industries) and then go right ahead and throw away a piece of property that would pay almost $600,000 a year.

We deserve better

Brutus


County gives away our money

November 13, 2018

The water park deal gets more expensive to the taxpayers every time we study it.

In addition to the deals that the city has made we now see that the county has chipped in also.

The deal with the county (read the whole thing here if you wish) has some differences from what we have been told previously by the city.

While the city has been telling us that the development company will be spending more than $150 million on the project, the deal with the county requires the developer’s minimum investment “to include cash and in-kind contributions in an amount no less than” $100 million.

And while we have been told that the land is worth $18.6 million we find that it is on the tax rolls at the appraisal district at $4,748,573.

Anyway

Moving along as though those numbers don’t matter, the county has committed to give the developers up to:

  • $3,048,544.54 in real property tax rebates
  • $   208,812.20 in personal property tax rebates
  • $1,037,737.42 in hotel occupancy tax rebates

The total is $4,295,094.10 if I ran my calculator correctly.

Remember that we cannot use the water park unless we rent rooms at the hotel.

We deserve better

Brutus


Deliberately misleading

November 12, 2018

This map was part of the water park presentation given to city council the other day.

What the map does not show is that the company is building a similar resort in Scottsdale Arizona (Phoenix) that is scheduled to open in 2019.

Our circle will be considerably smaller.

We deserve better

Brutus


Veterans day 2018

November 11, 2018

Today is Veterans day, a day where we honor those who have served in the United States armed forces.

By the way the official spelling does not include an apostrophe.  The day does not belong to the veterans but instead is about them.

Memorial day is a holiday in May where we honor those who died while serving in the United States armed forces.

Armed forces day also occurs in May.  It is a day where we honor those currently serving in our armed forces.

I thank all of our veterans.

Freedom is not free.

Brutus


Tax bills

November 10, 2018

This came in from Max Grossman:

Dear Friends,

Like thousands of other El Pasoans, I finally received word of my new property tax assessment. The breakdown for 2017 and 2018 looks like this:

Taxing entity             2017                2018                % change

—————————————————————————–

CITY OF EL PASO      0.803433         0.843332         +4.97%

EL PASO COUNTY    0.452694         0.447819          -1.09%

EL PASO I.S.D.          1.310000         1.310000           0

EPCC                          0.141638         0.140273          -0.97%

UNIV MED CTR        0.251943         0.251943           0

——————————————————————————

TOTAL TAX RATE    2.959708%      2.993367%      +1.14%

Thus, the City of El Paso was the only taxing entity to raise our taxes, and they did so by almost 5%. Moreover, in the last six years the City of El Paso has raised our taxes from $0.66 per $100 valuation to $0.8433, an increase of 27%! Yes, we have actually joined the “3% Club” with Detroit!

For 2018, the value of my home was assessed 16.15% higher, but then my attorney sued to lower that increase to only 7.69%, which is still huge. Between that and my fleecing at the hands of the City, my property taxes are $684.46 higher for the coming year. That is money that I will not spend in the local economy, hurting local businesses and pressuring wages.

Our Mayor, who had promised to hold the line on taxes, and our City Council are 100% responsible for the tax hike, which is a direct result of their reckless borrowing and spending, their inability to contain our debt, their failure to respect established budgets, and their insistence upon increasing the cost of the already-bloated QOL bond projects, especially their “Arena,” by issuing new debt that was never approved by the voters.

*************************************

We invite our readers to tell us what happened to their tax bills this year.

We deserve better

Brutus


Water park not feasible without incentives

November 9, 2018

This slide explains the water park viability as well as anything we have seen:

The red coloring is part of a page in an economic impact analysis that the city has posted on their website.  You can read it here.

Simply put the analysis concluded that the hotel would only generate an internal rate of return of 4.2% unless someone kicked in some free money (government incentives).

The authors stated that investors would need an internal rate of return of between 14 and 16%.

They stated “As a result, in the absence of additional financial incentives, the Proposed Hotel is likely not feasible.”

Aren’t we nice?

We deserve better

Brutus


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