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This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
County Attorney Will Not Seek Reelection: El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal will not seek reelection after her current term expires on Dec. 31, 2024. Bernal has served as county attorney since 2009, when she was appointed by the Commissioners Court to the position, making her El Paso’s first female county attorney. “It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve this community. I intend to finish my term and have much left to accomplish, but I want to make this announcement today to give the community plenty of time to consider the candidates that will be vying for this important position,” Bernal said.
Spaceport Development Corporation: The El Paso County Commissioners Court has approved forming a spaceport development corporation to complement the aerospace research being conducted by UTEP at the county’s airport in Fabens. The new West Texas Spaceport Development Corporation would become Texas’ fifth spaceport and would make the region from El Paso County to Culberson County eligible for grants through the state’s Spaceport Trust Fund. The corporation will be governed by a board of seven directors who will each serve two-year terms. The board will include representation from El Paso County, the Van Horn Economic Development Corporation, El Paso Chamber, Workforce Solutions Borderplex, UTEP and the Rio Grande Council of Governments.
Airbnb Rental Meeting: The city of El Paso is having public meetings to discuss the development of a new Short-Term Rental Ordinance. Short-term rentals, more commonly known as Airbnbs, are generally defined as homes, apartments, condos, or rooms where sleeping areas are rented to overnight guests for a period of less than 30 consecutive days. The city is looking to register, permit and collect hotel occupancy taxes from these rentals. The first meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Memorial Park Senior Center, 1800 Byron. There are two meetings on Feb. 2: at 10:30 a.m. at the Greater El Paso Association of Realtors, 6400 Gateway Blvd East; and at 6 p.m. at El Paso Community College Administrative Services Center, Building A Board Room, 9050 Viscount Blvd. For a complete list of meetings go to the city’s Planning and Inspection website.
Texas Senate Committee Assignments: Sen. César J. Blanco, D-El Paso, has been appointed to five Senate committees — Health & Human Services; Natural Resources & Economic Development; Water, Agriculture, & Rural Affairs; Veteran Affairs; and Border Security.