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.
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He is of course right.
We need to speak up and let the legislators know how we feel.
We deserve better
Brutus

Wrong solution

December 2, 2018

The death of another person on Mesa street near Cincinnati the other day was unnecessary.  We grieve for her family and friends.

It seems that the area is a popular nighttime hangout.

The lady was struck at about 1:45 in the morning.

The El Paso Times published an article the other day and wrote:

TxDOT has a long-term proposal for a Mesa Street tunnel running from Glory Road to Robinson Avenue. Vehicle traffic would bypass the entertainment district and the current Mesa-Cincinnati roadway would be a pedestrian area above the tunnel.

The long-term project would cost about $500 million and on the most optimistic time line would not be ready for another five years, Wright said.

Mesa street is unfortunately the main alternate route that can be taken when I-10 is closed.

Creating the tunnel would result in the closure of Mesa for months if not years.

There are other solutions like not crossing Mesa, or the party people taking their business to other locations.

Closing Mesa is not one of them.

We deserve better

Brutus

 


EPISD–will they get caught?

November 21, 2018

EPISD has a real problem.

In EPISD–some real numbers we pointed out that taking ten cents out of the interest and sinking fund rate and giving it to the operations and maintenance fund would leave the district without enough money to make their bond payments.

The district failed to mention that to the voters.  The voters approved the move.

The district will have to add at least seventeen cents to our interest and sinking fund rate next year.  That will not trigger a rollback election because state law allows them to raise the rate up to fifty cents per hundred without being subject to a taxpayer rollback effort.

Without more money in the interest and sinking fund account the district will not be able to honor its obligation to the bond holders.  That could cause a bond default.

The district’s solution is shown in this document:

The document says “To make bond payments, there will be a transfer for the same amount from the GF (general fund, or operations and maintenance fund) to the DSF (debt service fund, or interest and sinking fund)”.

Texas attorney general

In July of 2017 the Texas attorney general wrote:

“Districts do not have authority to increase the maintenance and operations tax rate to create a surplus to pay debt service with maintenance and operations tax revenue”.

There you have it.

Their actions appear to be illegal.

We deserve better

Brutus


Hotel occupancy tax issue

November 3, 2018

Good government oxymoron wrote this the other day:

A percentage of the HOT tax was approved soley for paying for the stadium.

How is the city legally allowed to waive it or rebate it back to a hotel???

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That got us to wondering so we found the ballot language that the voters were asked to approve.

VENUE PROJECT AND HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX PROPOSITION

“AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF EL PASO, TEXAS, TO DESIGNATE THE MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL STADIUM PROJECT AS A SPORTS AND COMMUNITY VENUE PROJECT WITHIN THE CITY IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAW AND TO IMPOSE A TAX ON THE OCCUPANCY OF A ROOM IN A HOTEL LOCATED WITHIN THE CITY, AT THE MAXIMUM RATE OF TWO PERCENT (2%) OF THE PRICE PAID FOR SUCH ROOM, FOR THE PURPOSE OF FINANCING SUCH VENUE PROJECT.”

Good government oxymoron is right.

According to the Texas comptroller of public accounts:

The city of El Paso collects the municipal hotel occupancy tax at 7 percent to support an auditorium and convention center, and in 2012 introduced an additional 2 percent levy via a venue district hotel tax for a multipurpose sports stadium. Combined city HOT taxes totaled $13.1 million in fiscal 2015.

The documents with the water park specify the hotel occupancy tax rebate at 7 percent.  It looks like the city is respecting its obligation on the 2 percent but the comptroller’s explanation seems to mean that the other 7 percent is also allocated and the city cannot re-purpose it.

We deserve better

Brutus


New water park

October 27, 2018

Item 22.4 on the Tuesday, October 30, 2018 city council agenda provides incentives for a company to build a convention center and convention center hotel in west El Paso.

This is the water park that has been the subject of recent speculation.

The estimated investment by the company is $150 million.  They are telling us that about 600 jobs will be created.

In return the company will receive:

100% city property tax rebate for 15 years.  The city’s rate is .843332 per hundred dollars of valuation.  That comes to $1.26 million per year in tax relief at the current rate.

100% city sales tax rebate for 15 years

50% hotel motel tax rebate for 15 years.  The tax is 17.5% of the room rate of which the city normally gets 11.5%.  That means the operation will collect the 17.5% and then get 5.75% returned to them by the city.

TIRZ 10 will fund $526,100 in infrastructure and safety improvements.

The park will be at 6850 Paseo Del Norte, across the street from the new Walmart.

We deserve better

Brutus


EPISD–financial rating

October 24, 2018

It doesn’t look like things are getting better at EPISD, at least from a financial perspective.

For 15 years the district achieved the highest rating and now they have fallen into the lower half of the above standard rating.

We deserve better

Brutus


EPISD debt service

October 23, 2018

This is the ballot language relating to the EPISD issue:

“APPROVING THE AD VALOREM TAX RATE OF $1.41 PER $100 VALUATION IN THE EL PASO ISD FOR THE CURRENT YEAR, A RATE
THAT IS $0.0647 HIGHER PER $100 VALUATION THAN THE SCHOOL DISTRICT ROLLBACK TAX RATE, FOR THE PURPOSE OF
GENERATING ADDITIONAL STATE FUNDING TO SUPPORT THE DISTRICT’S COMPENSATION PLAN AS ADOPTED ANNUALLY
INCLUDING THE ONE-TIME EMPLOYEE STIPEND IN 2018-2019, TO EXPAND ACADEMIC PROGRAMMING, AND TO SUPPLEMENT
FUND BALANCE. IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THE CURRENT TAX RATE, IF VOTERS APPROVE THE $1.41 TAX RATE, THE BOARD OF
TRUSTEES WILL REDUCE THE INTEREST AND SINKING RATE BY $.10, TO REDUCE THE TOTAL TAX RATE TO $1.31, WHICH IS
EQUAL TO THE TAX RATE FROM 2017-2018.”

The problem

Their 2018-19 Official Budget report shows:

Their existing interest and sinking rate (before the election) is $.24.  From that they estimate raising $37,913,980.  If they lower the rate by ten cents they will raise about $22.1 million.

That leaves them with just enough money to pay the interest on the bonds but none of the principal.

Also according to state law they can raise the interest and sinking fund rate next year without fear of triggering a roll back election.

We deserve better

Brutus


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