Quality of Life bond opponent says City's wording of proposition makes it a slush fund

POSTED: 02:47 PM MDT Nov 02, 2012    UPDATED: 06:07 PM MDT Mar 10, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

(Nov. 2012 story)

Ron McGinnis is a local real estate developer and he has a real problem with the wording of the bond election ordinance which uses the word "discretion."

It's a word he thinks gives the City free reign on how to use the nearly half billion dollars in funding if the bond propositions pass Nov. 6.

"I'm saying it's all discretionary, it's all a slush fund, that's what it is," McGinnis said.

He said the wording of the bond election ordinance gives the City too much flexibility with projects like building new pools and soccer fields for kids and calls it a slush fund for City officials to use the excess on whatever they want.

"If we vote for these two propositions and give them control over this half a billion and the ability to raise taxes, we as citizens will have absolutely no ability to change their mind," McGinnis said. "They'll do whatever they want to do."

The clause in the bond election ordinance he's talking about states, "the city council may, in its discretion, use any excess funds for acquiring, constructing, equipping, and renovating other park, recreation, zoo and open space improvements, etc."

 "All of the funds in the bonds are discretionary and they can use it so long as its within the general description of the two concepts, prop one and two," McGinnis said. "They can use it wherever they want to and however they choose."

The City of el Paso's chief financial officer, Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria said she "would not qualify this as a slush fund."

 "There's a lot of internal checks and balances that would minimize the risk of that happening," Arrieta-Candelaria said.

That includes a bond oversight committee and attorney general approval.
And although the bond projects do not have specific amounts, as McGinnis pointed out they did in the 2004 quality of life bond, she said it in no way resembles a slush fund.

"I can assure the public the bond proceeds will be used for the projects listed in the propositions and any excess funds are required to go back to debt or can be reprogrammed for another capital project, but depending on the size of that project, that project would go back to city council for approval," Arrieta-Canderlaria said.

(Nov. 2012 story)