In July, the topic of hourly wages for city and contract employees was discussed. During the meeting, Rep Lily Limon tearfully pleaded with City Council to raise the minimum wage to $10 for contract workers. Rep Noe said Limon’s plan would be bad for taxpayers. “We’re voluntarily, that is artificially, raising the price of a contract and saying ‘okay I’m not going to pay for it. The taxpayers are going to pay for this.”
Well, the topic came up again yesterday. An emotional Lily Limon tried again to “raise the minimum wage for janitorial, security and grounds maintenance contract workers to $10 an hour.” City staff reported the increase would have an estimated $3 million annual budget impact – that’s an extra $3 million that needs to come from somewhere. They had to raise property taxes to accommodate the budget for this year WITHOUT the $3 million increase, so there is no way the current (or future) budget could account for this.
The City Council has tabled the vote until they get more information. “The City will seek input from UTEP, The Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness and its consultants in order to learn how other cities dealt with similar proposals.”
According to a recent interview with Superintendent Juan Cabrera on KFOX, one of the first steps with the new EPISD bond is to assign a bond oversight committee. How will the select individuals for the committee? “In terms of the makeup, it’s up to the trustees and how they decide to want to select it,” Cabrera said. “More than likely, each trustee will get a couple of choices and I myself as superintendent will get a couple of choices.”
So, if each trustee will get a couple of choices, we thought we would let everyone know how to contact the trustees so that people could volunteer:
Bob Geske: firstname.lastname@example.org
Al Velarde: email@example.com
Susie Byrd: firstname.lastname@example.org
Diane Dye: email@example.com
Chuck Taylor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trent Hatch: email@example.com
Dori Fenenbock: firstname.lastname@example.org
The EPISD Board of Trustees haven’t actually asked for any volunteers. However, if they are going to get “… a diverse group of people that represents the community, whether that’s a part of town, or what they do,” (as Susie Byrd stated), then why not let the community volunteer? So, if you are interested, LET THEM KNOW! You need to hurry, they are trying to have the committee established by next Wednesday.
There were so many surprises on election night: Donald Trump won as president, 50.33% of registered voters in El Paso cast ballots, and the EPISD Bond passed.
We predict trying times for El Paso in the coming year. Donald Trump has firm stands on immigrants and walls, both of which will have a large impact on our City. Additionally, the citizens of El Paso just voted themselves a HUGE increase in property taxes.
“We’ve got a long way to go rebuilding trust,” Cabrera said. “This is a big step in the right direction.” We disagree. The rebuilding of trust should have happened BEFORE we gave EPISD the largest bond ever in El Paso County. However, unlike the County Commissioner’s raises, we were given an opportunity to decide through our votes and the majority voted ‘yes’.
While EPISD is gleefully meeting this morning to start their plan to spend the money, we hope that they will be accountable. We hope that they will be truthful and efficient. The one thing they now no longer need to be is frugal.
Below is how the different parts of town voted on the bond:
To see full election results, click here.