Three days from now, on November 17 under agenda item 11, the County Commissioners Court will vote on whether to post notice to issue up to $100 million in certificates of obligation to fund a series of County projects.
In addition, $100 million or more in general obligation bonds is planned for 2024, for a total of at least $200 million in new County debt.
Cindy Ramirez of El Paso Matters published a preliminary report on November 4.
The $100 million in CO debt will be issued without voter approval.
Recently, UMC tried to ram through the County a CO in the amount of $346,000,000 but it was shot down by a citizen petition.
The City of El Paso has assumed around $900 million in principal and interest obligations for 11 COs issued since 2012, which is a Texas record.
We are told that the proposed County CO issuance will not change the County tax rate, as if that is supposed to make us feel better about issuing nine figures worth of new debt without voter authorization. Of course, the County cannot be sure that our tax burden will not rise in 2023 because they cannot predict property valuations or interest rates for debt.
Commissioner Iliana Holguin of Precinct 3 is the only member of the County Commissioners Court putting up a fight.
Many El Pasoans, myself included, feel that certificates of obligation should be used for dire emergencies and that issuing them for capital improvement projects is immoral.
I hope that many of you will speak to agenda item 11 Thursday and make your voice heard.
Please consider writing to the Commissioners Court with your opinion:
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