New math

June 13, 2018

The news from EPISD sounds like what the news from the city did when they were building the ball park.

Years ago we wrote in Running total about the difference between what we were told by the city and what ultimately happened.

In short the ballpark started off as a $35 million project.

By the time we published Running total  the costs were over $220 million and that was before we learned that the bonds would cost us another $22 million because the city’s financial people did not sell them when they should have.

Now EPISD’s budget woes are the issue of the day locally.  The Times wrote an article where they questioned the $7 million shortfall that the district is now talking about:

“The figure is a difference of about $4 million from the $2.9 million deficit that the district presented at a May 22 budget workshop, less than two weeks ago.”


Later in the article the Times quoted a school board member:

“Back in the day, during the bond, our hope was that we’d be able to get there with bond money,”

He was referring to the $668 million bond that now looks like it will fail to solve their problems.

Who at the district is responsible for the numbers they are publishing?

We deserve better


Credit where credit is due

June 1, 2018

The Hunt Family Foundation recently published their 2017 annual report in the Times.

Without regard to how we might feel about the financing of the ballpark we should note that the Hunts are supporting charities in our area.

In 2017 they show contributions to charities of $7.5 million.

They have committed another $55.8 million to projects that they will fund over a period of time.

In total they have funded or committed $97.1 million since 1987.


Another trip to the well

March 13, 2018

They don’t have to tell the truth when they circulate the petition to approve a new public improvement district.

Section 372.019 of the Texas local government code:

After notice and a hearing, the governing body of the municipality or county may make supplemental assessments to correct omissions or mistakes in the assessment relating to the total cost of the improvement.

So go ahead and agree to build what they want.

Remember the $50 million dollar ball park that ended up costing $76 million?

We deserve better


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.


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




Ballpark funding

September 26, 2017

Remember how the increase in the hotel occupancy tax was supposed to pay for the ballpark?

Take a look at this:

The city has been collecting about $2.9 million each year from the increase.

Now look at this:

The principal and interest due in 2017 will be $4.27 million.

The shortfall will have to come out of your house occupancy tax.

We deserve better


Why the advertising campaign?

September 7, 2017

We have to wonder why the sports group has launched an advertising campaign to garner support for a downtown sports arena.

Bonds have been approved for a multipurpose cultural and performing arts facility.

A state judge has ruled that the facility may not be designed to host sporting events.

The city is appealing.

It seems to us that the matter is in the hands of the courts.

Who are they trying to influence?

Do they think that the issue is going to have to go back to the voters?

If it is city council they are seeking to influence, it seems that they already have more direct methods.

We deserve better


Following Richard Florida

April 20, 2017

City officials used a report from Richard Florida to justify their moves toward downtown revitalization a few years ago.

The other day we heard this from NPR:

Richard Florida promotes what he calls the creative class. He has said for years that cities prosper when they attract upscale innovators and entrepreneurs. Make your city a place where the creative class wants to live, and they, in turn, will create jobs.

INSKEEP: Many cities followed that advice. And now Richard Florida faces the downside. The creative class, he says, is creating cities that are massively unequal.

Unequal indeed.

We deserve better


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