Helen Marshall sent this in:
After reading the Times for the past few days I must conclude that I have fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland.
Ms. Niland tells us that the citizenry doesn’t need to vote on returning to a strong-mayor system because the city manager arrangement has been very successful. (And the Charter Advisory Committee agrees, with the guidance of former city manger Joyce Wilson, appointed by Ms. Niland, and former mayor Joe Wardy, who came up with the city manager idea).
City Manager Gonzalez then briefed Council on his work in completely overhauling the city administration and eliminating waste and inefficiency. In Parks and Recreation, for example, irrigation repair jobs that used to take 24 hours now are done in less than rwo hours.
Unless my memory has completely failed, the first and only previous city manager had responsibility for running the city effectively and without waste for ten years, concluding in mid-2014. If the city-manager system was so successful, how is it that the successor has to conduct a massive overhaul of city business?
The reporting about city finances hails the ratings from Standard and Poor’s and Fitch that reaffirmed the city’s AA rating (which is NOT the top rating). Buried deep in the report is this: Fitch “pointed out several areas to watch, including inadequate reserves, elevated debt and plans for major capital projects. … Fitch believes the city will be challenged to balance ongoing capital needs against an already above-average debt service tax rate, slower tax base growth in the near term, and below-average socio-economic characteristics.”
Couple that with the remark in a report on UMC tax proposals that El PAso County is in a unique situation compared with other counties in Texas; “in El Paso the property tax base is declining and as a result the effective tax rate is going up.”
Mayor Leeser assures us that “with City Council’s guidance we will continue to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and ensure that we provide the best for the citizens of El Paso.” And what’s more, it ain’t true that City Council is “dysfunctional” and its members don’t get along.
And so we must follow the White Queen and believe six impossible things before breakfast.