This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
City Representatives Seek Lower Tax Rate: Four City Council representatives placed an item on Tuesday’s meeting agenda to request a lower property tax rate than what city staff initially proposed. The backup material for the proposal says the city has kept the tax rate the same for the past three years. That’s a frequently invoked and misleading claim by city officials, because under state law, the city has passed a tax increase every year for the past several years. The city has raised significantly more property tax revenue in recent years because it has not reduced rates to offset increasing property valuations. That’s resulted in a 20% increase in the city property tax bill on an average-value home between 2019 and 2021. The city’s proposed tax rate of 90 cents per $100 in property valuation, down three-fourths of a penny from the current rate, would mean the city tax bill on an average-value home would increase another 14% in 2023.
Democrats No Longer Support Mayor: The El Paso County Democratic Party Executive Committee and the Texas Democratic Party voted this week to rescind their support of El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser because of his July 5 vote against directing police to make abortion investigations their lowest priority. The El Paso Democratic Party also voted to censure the four city representatives who sided with Leeser. While El Paso City Council elections are nonpartisan, the El Paso and Texas Democratic parties actively campaigned for and endorsed Leeser during his runoff election in 2020. Those endorsements were pulled even though Leeser is not up for re-election. His current term ends in 2025 and he’s not eligible to run again as there’s a two-term limit.
Back-to-School Vaccines for Kids: Immunize El Paso is opening five walk-in clinics starting next week to vaccinate youth ages 18 and under before classes start. Each site offers state-required vaccines for grades K-12, such as polio and measles, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 6 months. While some of the clinics are at schools, children do not have to be enrolled in that district or campus to get vaccinated there. Immunize El Paso accepts insurance, but there is no charge to parents who cannot pay. No appointment is necessary. The sites, dates and hours are:
- Fabens High School, 601 NE G Ave., on July 19 from 1:30-4 p.m.
- Ysleta Pre-K Center, 7940 Craddock Ave., on July 22 from 12:30-3 p.m.
- Eastlake High School, 13000 Emerald Pass Ave., on July 23 from 8:30-11 a.m.
- Socorro Ramirez Community Center at the Sparks Housing Development, 106 Peyton Road, on July 23 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Bowie High School, 801 S. Marcial St., on July 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.