KVIA ABC-7 published an exceptional report last night clearly explaining why the handling of the proposed UMC debt issuance of up to $400M without voter approval is so problematic:
1. The published agenda of the UMC Board of Managers meeting does not cite the amount of the debt that is to be issued and there are no backup docs, so the public and media were kept completely in the dark. See item 14 of the attached June 14 agenda.
2. The Board of Managers has not posted videos of their meetings since March 2020, and they do not post their meeting minutes unless requested through an open records request!
3. The County was set to vote today, June 16, on whether to post notice of the new debt issuance, only two days after the UMC vote. The County agenda did not include the CO amount or any backup docs until it was uploaded yesterday afternoon, less than 24 hours before today’s Special Meeting, and only after the media began investigating.
If Martin Paredes had not published his report on his blog, the huge expenditure would have slipped past the media, so thank you, Martin!
Thankfully, the Commissioners decided today to delay consideration of the debt issuance until June 27 to give the media and public time to review the proposal.
KVIA reports that this debt issuance would add $55 per year per $100,000 of valuation to our property tax, which is already the second highest in America among the 50 largest cities!
As an El Paso taxpayer, I am tired of local government issuing hundreds of millions of new debt without voter permission. CO’s are for real emergencies. Period.
I said it before and will say it again. It is immoral to issue debt of this magnitude without asking the voters for permission, no matter how worthy the cause. This ask from UMC should be put to the voters in November in the form of a ballot proposition.
Medical care is an essential service. Make the case following the democratic process.
We are smart enough to vote for what is in our best interest.