EL PASO, Texas - Yselta Independent School board members are now agreeing to announce their tax standing when they adopt the district's annual tax rate. They voted 4-2 to disclose whether they're current or delinquent on their taxes Tuesday night.
Board President Patricia Torres Mclean decided to put this item on the agenda after she found out one of her trustees was over $4,000 behind on her taxes.
Trustee Ana Duenez owes $4,146. She's behind two years on her taxes.
And it's for this reason, Mclean choose to call a special meeting. Duenez did not attend.
This new policy means the board will reveal their tax standing starting this August.
Mclean says if the board is going to ask Ysleta taxpayers to pay taxes, then trustees should have to pay their taxes too.
The measure passed 4-2, with Trustee Shane Haggerty and Connie Woodruff voting against it. They argued that tax information can easily be retrieved from the city's tax website and that announcing something, which is already public, is not transparency.
"I felt that it was important as the board president, to take this step, and address the issue instead of not dealing with it at all," said Mclean.
When asked if Duenez should resign, Mclean said, "that's her constituents decision, that's not mine."
Former trustee Ramon Mendoza is skeptical of the board's attempt at transparency. He held office from 2007-2010. He says not only did they fail to include all the residents input before choosing a superintendent in just a matter of months,
but taxpayers weren't even notified about the meeting Tuesday night.
"Today's meeting was a surprise meeting, especially the one at central office. It started at 5 o'clock. Five o'clock! No one knew it was there. Maybe you guys knew it was there but that was it. A lot of things are being done now that it's too quick too fast. Why? I don't understand," Mendoza said.
Mendoza also criticises the board for not wanting to abide by the new law, that El Paso trustees must disclose their financial statements.
But the board president says proving to taxpayers that board members are also paying their fair share is a step towards more transparency.
Duenez was not at the meeting and did not return phone calls.