When the voters passed the Quality of Life Bond on November 6, 2012, authorizing the issuance of $473,225,000 in general obligation bonds for dozens of projects, the City immediately established a Bond Overview Advisory Committee in order to provide citizen oversight of the expenditures.
The City has had a spotty record of providing BOAC with accurate information in a timely manner, but we did learn at their last meeting that the QOL Bond projects are $63,607,763 over budget.
On November 5, 2019, the voters went on to approve the bloated Public Safety Bond, authorizing the issuance of $413,122,650 for Police and Fire facilities, including a new $90.6 million police station, a $38.6 million Eastside police command center, and $74.4 million to renovate several fire stations.
Jeremy Jordan, the wife of City Rep. Cassandra Hernandez, was paid $20,000 for “expenditures made in support of measure.” The couple profited while El Pasoans suffered a tax increase.
In any case, for reasons we do not understand, the City never created a BOAC for the Public Safety Bond, and so there is absolutely no citizen oversight of the expenditures.
We filed an open records request for “a spreadsheet itemizing expenditures for the 2019 Public Safety Bond, indicating any cost overruns,” so unless the City stonewalls and asks the Attorney General to prevent us from learning the truth, we will share the relevant figures with the public within ten days.
Of course, we are doing the job of the media, which are too busy reporting about car accidents, murders, the weather, and National Puppy Day to busy themselves with hundreds of millions of dollars of bond expenditures.
We hope that City Council will consider tasking the existing BOAC with overseeing the Public Safety Bond expenditures in addition to the Quality of Life Bond expenditures in the interest of transparency.