In a statement to the El Paso Times, Mayor Leeser explained his "no" vote to the new El Paso Water Utilities proposed budget and rate hikes: "It was insulting to see that type of presentation . . ." Huh? Apparently he objected to a presentation about the budget given a few weeks ago in a public budget hearing and given again yesterday for a vote. At issues seems to be the fact that your water utility will begin showing on your bill in March the amount you pay (10%) that goes back to the city (not counting the amount businesses now pay for the City Council directed tax aka fee). His resposes to Times reporter Vic Kolenc were vague.
Here's the deal: the Mayor's was the only nay vote because he said that he was "insulted". Six other members of the Board - all smart, professional people - were not insulted. Apparently only one person, the Mayor, found the budget presentations "insulting". Word on the street is that the Mayor was engaged in political posturing. He has said on more than one occasion to various people that he believes that the utility should be run by the city not the PSB. In other words, his "nay" vote and his suggestion that he was insulted are, at the least, clear indications of his lack of support for the PSB if not a means to undermine the PSB.
More proof: the Mayor chairs the PSB selection committee. He did not attend and did not take part in the nearly unanimous highest rating of current board member, David Nemir. When the matter went before Council, he was silent allowing the selection of Brad Roe who has ties with the El Paso Builders Association. One keen observer of El Paso politics commented: "You can bet the Bowlings got the votes [for Roe] from Council."
You might also want to peruse Oscar Leeser's campaign finance reports of 2013. See how many sprawlers you see listed as giving the big bucks. These are the very people who want to get their hands on all of that PSB land and a shortsighted Council wants to sell off as fast as they can to make up budget shortfalls. (And once you've spent all that you have on bloated credit card expenses, you find that you can't pay for the extravagant purchases you keep making. Imagine the city running the water utility. Just how fast do you think that we will run out of water?)
What was insulting at yesterday's PSB meeting was how the Mayor voted and how he left the meeting with important agenda items still pending and how he does not do his duty to communicate what the PSB is doing to City Council. That is what is insulting and every single El Pasoan should be insulted.
By the way, even with the rate increases, El Paso Water Utilities' rates are still the lowest or second lowest when compared to other Texas cities and to other regional cities in the southwest. Here are the charts:
Save our water. Save our land. Save our PSB.