On November 5, 2019, the voters approved 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.
Unlike the 2012 Quality of Life Bond, the Public Safety Bond is not subject to citizen oversight. There is no Bond Overview Advisory Committee with regular presentations from the Capital Improvement Department on the progress of the various projects.
That is why we filed an open records request with the City of El Paso, which just released to us a financial spreadsheet on the Public Safety Bond showing the expenditures by fiscal year. (see link at bottom)
We now know that four years and three months after the passage of the bond proposition, the City has spent only $66,875,127 of the $413,122,650 bond, a mere 16.2%.
Considering that there has been more than 19% inflation since 2019, the purchasing power of the bond money has declined by around $80 million.
We are seeing a repeat of the same pattern we saw with the Quality of Life Bond, in which it took many years to begin executing projects while inflation decimated the City’s spending power.
We have filed a second open records request on the Public Safety Bond, asking for the expenditures for each individual project so that we can see what is over budget.
We will report back soon with those figures.