El Paso

Council authorizes city manager to match MPO funding with budget savings

EL PASO, Texas - El  Paso City Council voted unanimously to authorize the city manager to establish funding sources of up to $3.7 million to match funding for projects from the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

City Engineer Andrew Goh submitted an amendment of the City of El Paso Street Infrastructure Capital Plan for Fiscal Year 2017.

The money will fund seven different projects for FY2017 and FY2018, which include:

  • ADA compliant curbs along Oregon street: $200,000
  • Lights along Oregon street: $525,000
  • Tree grates along Oregon street: $275,000
  • Improvements along Delta Drive: $1,068,800
  • Edgemere Roundabout: $518,075
  • Pedestrian improvements along University Avenue: $135,246
  • Improvements on Winn Road and Zaragoza POE: $1,001, 459

This amendment comes on the heels of Mayor Oscar Leeser's veto of the City's intent to issue $44 million in certificates of obligation to pay for public improvement projects.

Certificates of obligation would have allowed the City to borrow money, without voter approval, to pay for the projects and match the MPO funding.

A failure to match means the City loses the MPO funding.

"Eventually, you need the money," Representative Emma Acosta said, "The last thing I want is to have projects and we don't have matching funds and we will have to pull back."

The funds to match the MPO funding will be provided by year-end net savings in the City's Fiscal Year 2017 General Operations Fund.

"We will make every effort to utilize year-end savings to pay for this $3.7 million commitment for 2017," City Manger Tommy Gonzalez said.

The city manager will be authorized to establish the funding sources, make any necessary budget transfers and execute all documents necessary to reprogram the funds.

Gonzalez told Council one of the streets projects, Oregon Street, is ten years old. "The MPO has paid its share, but the city has not. ADA ramps, lights and tree grates all need to be added," Gonzalez said, adding the improvements should have been completed in 2010.

"The city needs to own up to this and complete this project," Gonzalez said.

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