Battle of the bulge

May 12, 2019

What will our local governments do if our state legislature puts a cap on how much they can raise taxes from one year to another?

Look for them to start charging more fees  to use facilities that we already own.

The city has been quite successful in moving fees over to the water department and thus increasing our monthly bills.

We are now seeing charges being imposed on the use of facilities that we financed with the so called quality of life bonds.

We deserve better

Brutus


One last chance?

May 9, 2019

Get ready for local government tax increases this year.

There are bills being considered in the Texas legislature that would restrict the percentage of increase local governments could add to their tax rates.

Right now most local governments (not the school districts since many of them are already at their maximum rates) can increase their tax rate by around 8% every year without triggering a roll back election.

The new bills would restrict that growth.  It seems that one bill being considered would limit their increase to 3.5% per year, once again without triggering an election.

The situation has our locals concerned.  Reducing costs does not appear to be something that they want to do.

With the threat of a 3.5% cap being imposed on them don’t be surprised if they take what might be their last opportunity and hit us with an 8% increase this year.

We deserve better

Brutus


Call your state representative

April 18, 2019

A regular reader posted a comment the other day that deserves promotion.

S/he wrote:

BRUTUS: On page 9A of today’s El Paso TIMES, there is a short clip titled “Property tax bill clears Senate over backlash by big cities.”

This might be a TOPIC for tomorrow, since it’s an effort to CAP yearly property tax increases to 3.5% for cities and 2.5% for school districts.

Could not find this article on the TIMES website, but did find it at the Texas Tribune and other Texas newspaper websites.

Since some posters on your website have such galactic ‘shit fits’ over local taxes; it might be HELPFUL for those Texas legislators OUTSIDE El Paso pushing this bill, to hear from El Paso taxpayers who like the idea. Also let the Texas Governor and LT. Governor know.

Of course our local elected officials are ‘scared shitless’ over this initiative! Remember: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

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

The bill has different house and senate versions but has passed in the senate.

It was filed back in November of 2016.  It appears as though it will be considered during this congressional session.

Hope springs eternal.

We deserve better

Brutus


True and correct

March 26, 2019

All of our candidates for public office must fill out and sign this portion of their application to be placed on the ballot:

There are a few  places in Texas law where making a false statement on the ballot application is a violation of a law.

Generally violations are a class A misdemeanor.

The penalty?  A fine of up to $4,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year in a county jail.

We deserve better

Brutus

 


Texas open meetings

March 11, 2019

The Times published an editorial the other day that I agreed with.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals evidently invalidated the portion of the Texas Open Meetings Act that specified criminal penalties for members of government boards that arrange meetings with less than a quorum in order to avoid the requirement to make the meeting open to the public.

The Times editorial told us that our Texas Governor has written a letter to state board appointees and state agency chiefs telling them to “continue to follow the spirit” of the Texas Open Meetings Act without regard to the appeals court ruling.

Unfortunately our local governments are now free to meet in private and discuss public business as long as they do not have a quorum present.

We hope that our Texas legislature will take action soon to shore up the Open Meetings Act.

We deserve better

Brutus


EPISD compared to the others

February 15, 2019

This slide came from a recent EPISD meeting:

Yep, the city is getting in our pocket books.

EPISD has been holding the line and I thank them.

Next year, however, will be another story.  They will have to raise their interest and sinking funds rate to make up for the 10 cents the voters gave them in the penny swap election.

The chart shows the increases.  What it fails to point out is that half of your property tax bill goes to the district.

We deserve better

Brutus


A little help here

February 7, 2019

Several people trying to get through the traffic mess on alternate routes that was caused by the closure of I-10 the other day have commented to me about the lack of assistance from our local traffic people.

They commented about stop lights that held traffic back when there were few if any cars coming from the perpendicular side of the intersection.

In this day of electronic communication couldn’t we have a system where someone or some computer changed the traffic signal controller to compensate for the massive change in traffic conditions?

Or maybe people could be dispatched to the intersections to manually control the signals to maximize traffic flow.

These situations are bad but measures could be taken to lessen the problems.

We deserve better

Brutus


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