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


Party time

January 21, 2019

Our city officials want to attend South by Southwest again this year.

They tell us that when they went last year they saw between 700 and 900 people at their booth.  That’s out of 75,000 people that attended.

This week’s city council agenda includes an item to authorize an inter-local government agreement between the city and the county where the county agrees to reimburse 50% of the actual expenses us to $50,000.  Anything over that the city will have to pay alone.

Why?

The stated purpose is “to promote the cultural, film, tourism, convention and hotel industry, and economic opportunities available in the El Paso Region”.

The agreement specifies that airfare, transportation, lodging, and meals are separate and are not included in the agreement.

It sounds like a party to me.

We deserve better

Brutus


Property tax cap

January 18, 2019
This came in the other day:
Brutus.
     [P]  Here is another website you might consider adding to your list — since in this ongoing Texas Legislative Session — legislators will be looking at reducing the property roll back cap trigger down from it’s current trigger level of 8-percent  to a 2-percent trigger cap.  See — https://www.gregabbott.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/PropertyTaxReform.pdf
     [P]  Our local legislative delegation members will fight against lowering the cap — and Sunday night on the KVIA TV News Extra program — Senator Rodriguez indicated he is against it.  As he goes, the other members of the delegation will follow.  In addition, the city, county, UMC and school districthired lobbyists — will also raise objections and fight against any lowering of the cap.  The reality is — individual voters’ and property taxpayers — do not have hired lobbyists and others fighting for their interests.  Bottom line — that’s where your blog can create an impact!
     [P]  The 2-percent level is most likely too low — so that cap trigger level may possibly be only a negotiating point — so legislators can compromise at a 4 or 5-percent trigger cap.
     [P]  Since many of your faithful blog followers’ and creatively blunt posters — are pissed about always rising local property taxes, plus associated stupid spending — here’s a chance for them to get their ‘oars in the water — and let those state legislators outside El Paso who are pushing this issue — know there are El Paso voters’ and property taxpayers — who approve, plus appreciate and support their efforts.
————————————  Old Fart.
POST SCRIPT:  Since you keep your blog updated each day — with a fresh topic for public thought and discussion — it is certainly better than the stale blogs of David K, Max Powers, Zorro and some of the others.  Therefore, it certainly seems you have a daily opportunity — to make your blog an action site — by posting interactive web links as you have just started to do.
*************************************************
He is of course right.
We need to speak up and let the legislators know how we feel.
We deserve better
Brutus

County hospital being managed

January 11, 2019

This came from the October 2018 county hospital financial statement:

For those who don’t know the term, “FTE” stands for full time equivalent, or the number of hours paid divided by 40.

The statement indicates that they have 208 fewer FTE’s getting paid.

It seems that our new administrator is looking out for us.

This is better.

Brutus


You asked for the job

January 9, 2019

Mr. Max Higgs sent this in as a response to our post New year’s resolutions.

We asked what resolutions we would like our local government officials to make and keep.

1. Remember you asked for the job.
2. Remember all your employers.
3. Do your job.

We deserve better

Brutus


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