This is your Friday Update, which takes a quick look at some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
Districting Commission: The El Paso Districting Commission, which is charged with redrawing the eight city council districts based on 2020 census data, has canceled its final meeting of April 6. Instead, public hearings on the proposed maps will be held on April 11 and April 26 during the regularly scheduled city council meetings. Every 10 years, following the U.S. Census count, the city adjusts its city representative district boundaries to ensure that residents have equal representation by district. Based on the 2020 census, the city of El Paso has 678,815 residents, therefore, each district should have 84,851 residents. Currently, one district has more than 118,000 residents, while another has 70,000.
Second booster shots: The city of El Paso is now providing second COVID-19 booster doses to individuals 50 years and older, and certain immunocompromised individuals. The second booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will only be given at least 4 months after the first booster dose. Appointments are not required at the city vaccination sites; however, they are recommended. Appointments can be made by calling 915-212-6843 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or online at EPCovidVaccine.com. Individuals can also obtain a booster from any of the city’s vaccine partners, listed here.
County Ethics Commission: The El Paso County Civil Service Commission is seeking an applicant to represent it on the El Paso County Ethics Commission. Eligible applicants must be at least 18 years old; be a property taxpayer in the county; and have resided in the county for two years. The Ethics Commission was created by the El Paso Commissioners Court in September 2009 and adopts, publishes and enforces an ethics code governing county public servants. The application period ends on April 22. Apply online here.
El Paso Water bond: El Paso City Council approved on March 29 the Public Service Board’s request to issue $356 million in revenue bonds for El Paso Water, but not without heated discussion. City Reps. Peter Svarzbein and Alexsandra Annello expressed concerns about the initial bond language which required the city to pay full price for any piece of land it buys from the PSB. Previously, the city would only pay the PSB 25% of the land’s value. Ultimately, the language on the price for land was deleted. The bond will be issued by the end of the month and will pay for a slew of construction projects and outstanding utility debt. The financial impact to El Paso Water customers is unknown.
New Animal Services director: Terry Kebschull, a veteran El Paso firefighter, has been named as the city’s new director of animal services. Kebschull graduated from the El Paso Fire Academy in 1991 and was eventually promoted to assistant chief. He replaces Ramon Herrera who was appointed as interim director in January 2021.