When will the kids play?

October 2, 2018

As part of the deal with MountainStar where they will be hosting USL soccer at the ball park, it appears that the new team needs a practice facility.

Item 31.1 on the Tuesday, October 2, 2018 city council agenda contemplates giving the team the right to use two soccer fields at the Westside Sports Complex for five years.  In return the team (aka COMPANY) will bring the fields up to USL standards and then maintain them.

“COMPANY’s occupancy and use of the Facilities shall take precedence over any other use of the Facilities during the Team’s pre-season training camp, regular season, and post-season … as shall be deemed included in Exhibit B …”

In other words during the period described in Exhibit B the team will have control over the fields.

Exhibit B is shown below:

For the 2018 USL season pre-season ran from the February 3 to March 16.  Regular season was from March 16 to October 14.  The post-season will start October 20 and end November 10.

Kids, we will let you know when you can use the field.

We deserve better



USL soccer coming to the ball park

October 1, 2018

Tomorrow (Tuesday, October 2, 2018) city council will consider changing the ball park lease.

The sports group already has control over the ball park every day of the year because of their current lease.

The group wants to bring a USL soccer team to El Paso and play at the ball park.  They plan to spend $3.5 million to make the facility appropriate for both baseball and soccer.

This makes sense if for no other reason than they already control what can happen at the park.

From the proposed changes to the lease:

“… all revenues generated
from the Soccer Team and/or the Ballpark on the date of a Soccer Team home game or
USL events including, without limitation, all revenues from Soccer Team or USL ticket
sales (except Ticket Fees), parking (except for City’s share of parking revenue, discussed
in Article V of this Agreement), Soccer Team or USL Concessions, Soccer Team or USL
Merchandise, Soccer Team or USL suite, and club seat sales, interior and exterior Soccer
Team or USL-related Ballpark advertising and signage, sponsorships, any and all Soccer
Team or USL naming rights and other advertising, sales of broadcast and telecast rights,
internet rights, league expansion fees and team fundraising, and any other sources of
Soccer Team or USL related revenue, shall be retained by MountainStar Soccer or the
USL, as appropriate.”

The city does not get much.

However the city does get to provide free police services:

City, in its reasonable discretion, shall provide at
its sole cost and expense (using City employees or contract services, as determined by
City) all customary police, traffic control, fire prevention, emergency medical, street
cleaning, trash removal and other similar City-provided services, outside and in the
general vicinity of the Ballpark, at a level of service consistent with the Ballpark

We deserve better


What’s this about?

September 16, 2018

It seems that one of our city representatives wants at least one of our city facilities to pay for itself.

From the Tuesday, September 18, 2018 city council agenda:

30.4. Discussion and action to direct the City Manager and City Attorney to draft an ordinance requiring the end user of the Eastside Sports Complex to be charged a fee no less than the amount needed for operations, maintenance and capital improvement of the park, not covered by the PID & TIRZ and to tie the collection of the fees to the existence of the PID & TIRZ.
  Representative Michiel Noe, (915) 212-0005


It would be nice if we could get him to pay attention to the situation over at Sun Metro and maybe while he’s at it he could require that the proposed arena pay for itself.

We deserve better.


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




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