Caught again

We learned the other day that the fee that city council imposed on our water utility last year will now be assessed to homeowners.

Back in September council imposed the fee on the utility to help balance the city’s budget.  They told the board of the water utility that they wanted “nonresidential” customers to be charged.

A local church made a claim and we are now being told that assessing the fee on only “nonresidential” customers is not legal.

Rebates will evidently be made to the water customers that have already been charged and homeowners will now have to pay part of the bill.

One thing that is unusual here is how quickly the water utility changed course faced with the claim of illegality.  Often local governments fight rather than obey the spirit of a law.

If only charging “nonresidential” customers has proven to be illegal we have to ask why the city attorney did not know this when council took their action.

Then again maybe she did.

Wouldn’t it be nice if council would stop imposing hidden taxes.  The water utility should never have been involved in this issue.

We deserve better

Brutus

6 Responses to Caught again

  1. ManintheMoon says:

    Poor legal advice from the City attorney?Or did they know from the start it was illegal and that they would be shaking down the people of El Paso once again. Let’s say together thugs and their thuggery.

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  2. James says:

    The “Water Forever” television commercial which has aired lately should be changed to “Water Fees Forever.” I would not be proud of a commercial happy about displaying a geyser sized leak. I hope the UTEP water study concludes with El Paso’s urgent need to strictly control all development.

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    • Helen Marshall says:

      You must be joking, UTEP is not in business to tell the ruling powers of El Paso that they must stop the sprawl.

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    • Reality Checker says:

      You will never see UTEP take an anti-development or slow growth position. Big developers have donated a lot of money to UTEP. UTEP will not bite the hands that feed it. UTEP professors also like the extra consulting money they pull in from outside sources.

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  3. Whether this “fee” was legally imposed or not, here’s the problem: It is grossly unfair and even downright stupid to force the taxpayers to pony up the cash for Council’s shortfalls because of Council’s inability to create and follow a budget! This is not a fee, but yet another tax on top of the taxes we already pay! The PSB has a history of providing a great product and services under tough conditions. So, Council decided it was not enough that they have screwed up our City’s coffers and budget, and felt it was time to mess with the PSB. Unconscionable, to say the least.

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    • Reality Checker says:

      Absolutely, John. Gonzalez, who had been in his position a very short time, even recommended looking for budget cuts to offset the shortfall, but council refused. Council actually chose not to let him look for expense reduction opportunities when the budget was being created, knowing full well that the water fee would be passed on to taxpayers. For them to claim otherwise is just one more blatant lie from a group of incompetent third-rate politicians, who believe the public does not see them for who they really are.

      Gonzalez quickly got on board and got into the spending spirit. He recently pushed for millions of dollars to fund his city employee wellness program that puts more money in the pockets of city employees. That was an unbudgeted expense that also has to come from somewhere.

      The city attorney continues to give bad advice, but everyone included the mayor continues to protect her.

      If one council member in particular had her way, she would simply turn the PSB over to the developers who have funded her campaigns.

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