This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
YISD Board Ratifies Trustee Contract: The Ysleta Independent School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to retroactively approve a $4,715 contract with Parkland area Trustee Shane Haggerty, whose company Five Star Innovation organized a March 26 YISD robotics competition. Haggerty abstained from the vote. This is not the first time YISD has contracted with Five Star Innovation. Since he rejoined the board in May 2019, the district has awarded the company $72,590 in robotics contracts, according to figures YISD provided (including this most recent contract). Haggerty told El Paso Matters that he doesn’t profit off these contracts, given that he sets low registration and event fees to increase student accessibility. “I’m not doing it to make money,” he said. Robotics, he said, can open doors for El Paso students “to become the next Einstein.” Contracts under $100,000 do not need to come to the board for approval, but Haggerty said he requested that the contract be put on the agenda so the public is aware.
County To Discuss Building New Medical Examiner’s Office: El Paso County Commissioners Court on Monday will consider awarding more than $620,000 to MNK Architects to design a new county medical examiner’s office and storage facility in east El Paso. The county has budgeted $5.25 million for the project. However, according to agenda backup materials, the architectural firm estimates the cost to be closer to $6.8 million for two buildings to be built on land the county owns on the East Side off Joe Battle Drive, just north of Pellicano Drive.
Remaining Property Valuation Notices On The Way: The hottest topic of discussion in El Paso in recent days may be the property tax valuation notices arriving in mailboxes. By April 22, almost all the evaluations should be mailed out, El Paso Central Appraisal District officials said. If you haven’t received your notice yet, spoiler alert: your valuation probably went up since last year — a lot. On average, residential valuations are up by 18% so far. You can protest your valuation if you think it’s too high. Here are some tips that can help you prepare a protest.
Primary Runoff Voter Registration Deadline: The deadline to register to vote in the May 24 primary runoff election is next Monday, April 25. You can check to see whether you’re registered to vote in El Paso County here. The El Paso County Elections Department must receive your voter registration application no later than April 25, which can be submitted via mail, fax or in person. A handful of undecided statewide and local races will be on the ballot, including Commissioners Court precincts 2 and 4.
City Increases Minimum Wage: The El Paso City Council voted unanimously April 12 to approve a mid-year salary raise for city employees, which boosts the city’s minimum wage from $10.36 to $11.11, a 7.2% increase. The council also approved a $1,000 signing incentive for new non-uniform full-time hires, in addition to new police and fire hires. The recruitment incentive ends Aug. 31.