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NPT Capitol: Pickett, Chavez team up on tax relief (or sticking it to the city/PSB, depending on your point of view)

News release from state Reps. Joe Pickett and Norma Chavez:

CHÁVEZ/PICKETT FILE TAX RELIEF LEGISLATION

The bills would exempt El Paso County and school districts from a stormwater fee

AUSTIN – Today, State Representative Norma Chávez and State Representative Joe Pickett will
present House Bills 2172 and 2173 in a hearing in the House Border and Intergovernmental Affairs
Committee. Each of these bills exempt property held by El Paso County and El Paso County school
districts from storm water fees. These bills would not only provide tax relief to El Paso County, but
also to small-business owners as well as individuals that are homeowners.

A homeowner who is already paying a stormwater fee for his or her residential property, is also
paying county and school district property taxes. Those fees imposed on the county and school
district could potentially raise tax rates, and those rate increases would be paid by that homeowner.
The situation is even more taxing for a homeowner who also owns a business that has property.

“El Pasoans should not pay the same fee twice,” Rep. Chávez said. “A stormwater fee imposed on
the county and our school districts will ultimately get passed down to the taxpayer.”

“Public schools should be treated the same as public universities,” said Rep. Pickett. “Universities
and community colleges are not subject to the fees since they are supported by public tax dollars
already.”

Board Trustees of both the Ysleta ISD and the El Paso ISD expressed similar concerns and thoughts
on each of these bills.

“Storm water drainage fees remove much needed funds from our children. School districts funds
should not be directed from public education. We appreciate the support of both Representative
Chávez and Representative Pickett in moving this much needed legislation forward,” said Trustee
Patricia Hughes of the El Paso Independent School District.

Lisa Montelongo, Ysleta ISD Board Trustee said, “The Ysleta ISD has felt from the beginning that this
fee is a double / triple tax on our community. School districts should be exempt like other educational
institutions and state agencies. We feel paying this fee would be taking away money that should be
used to educate our students.”

House Bill 2172 and 2173 allows a school board and commissioners court the option to opt-out of the
exemption.

Under current law, cities, counties, and utility districts are prohibited from charging state agencies or
public institutions of higher education a fee related to development and maintenance of programs that
control excess water or storm water. House Bill 2172 and 2173 simply allows the current exemptions
from storm water fees granted to these state and federal entities to be extended to El Paso County
and El Paso County school districts as well.

“Our county and school district should be afforded that same right that is afforded to UTEP or any
other state institution located in El Paso,” Rep. Chávez said. “This legislation would create parity.”

Currently, the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board (PSB) manages and operates the water
and wastewater system for the City of El Paso. The City of El Paso created the PSB by city ordinance
in 1952. However, due to the devastating floods that took place in El Paso between the months of
July and August of 2006, the City of El Paso created a new storm water utility and passed the
responsibility to PSB.

El Pasoans will have the opportunity to decide on May 9, 2009 whether or not the stormwater utilities
will continue to be administered by the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 24, 2009 at 8:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. This should really be called “stick it to the home owner.” The fewer entities that pay into the stormwater utility, the more it will cost the homeowner — either in fees or in increased property tax. Lower what the fat cat car dealers pay, and the home owner is going to be subsidiizng their businesses also.

    Jenny

    March 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm

  2. jenny , your an idiot. the homeowner would have to pay 16 dollars a month to be equal to what the businesses are paying. you are either paying 3 or 6 bucks a month which equals around 12 to 24 dollars an acre. the businesses are paying 66. the businesses are subsidizing the homeowner along with the developers who own land and those commercial owners with no meters. stormwater fees are high to businesses because the psb knows there are fewer businesses than there are homeowners and they need the developers to buy land. the high stormwater fees also will make impact fees lower or non -existent to developers. the psb needs the developers to sell their land and the city incumbents need their money for re-election.

    jafo

    March 25, 2009 at 8:17 am


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