El Paso, Texas

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El Paso is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in West Texas. According to the United States Census Bureau's 2009 population estimates, the city had a population of 620,447 (July 2009). It is the sixth-largest city in Texas and the 22nd-largest city in the United States.[1] Its metropolitan area covers all of El Paso County. In 2009, the El Paso metropolitan area had a population of 751,296.[2] The metropolitan population is estimated to be at 763,186 as of July 1,2010 US census estimates.

Government

The city government is officially nonpartisan; the county government is not. Mayors and city council members may not serve for more than ten years in their respective offices.[3]

According to city charter amendments approved on February 7, 2004, the city of El Paso operates under a council-manager form of government. This system combines the strong political leadership of elected officials, in the form of eight council members, with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. All power is concentrated in the elected council, which hires a professionally trained manager to carry out its directives and oversee the delivery of public services.[3]

Budget

General Fund Summary:[4]

Department Adopted
FY2010
Adopted
FY2011
FY10/FY11
Variance
City Attorney $4,215,307 $4,041,961 -$173,346
Community Development $520,698 $537,090 $16,392
Department of City Manager $1,759,869 $2,789,482 $1,029,613
Dept. of Museums & Cultural Affairs $2,214,804 $2,201,784 -$13,020
Development Services $6,399,423 $0 -$6,399,423
Economic Development $1,828,083 $3,745,043 $1,916,960
Engineering & Construction Management $3,652,006 $6,980,148 $3,328,142
Environmental Services $0 $475,791 $475,791
Financial Services $2,859,698 $2,900,274 $40,576
Fire $74,446,474 $85,020,432 $10,573,958
General Services $15,340,143 $25,079,141 $9,738,998
Health $8,501,875 $8,335,493 -$166,382
Human Resources $1,976,329 $1,819,270 -$157,059
Information Technology $11,496,268 $10,393,075 -$1,103,193
Library $7,798,645 $8,131,724 $333,079
Mayor & Council $1,356,490 $1,293,165 -$63,325
Municipal Clerk $4,637,977 $4,997,461 $359,484
Non-Departmental $7,273,334 $6,712,381 -$560,953
Office of Management & Budget $1,233,437 $0 $1,233,437
Parks & Recreation $20,507,456 $11,483,595 -$9,023,861
Police $112,041,390 $107,934,125 -$4,107,265
Department of Transportation $14,366,326 $12,787,409 -$1,578,917
Tax $4,458,754 $4,377,609 -$81,145
Zoo $3,369,933 $3,513,012 $143,079
TOTAL $312,254,719 $315,549,465 $3,294,746

Legalizing marijuana

The city council has come close to legalizing marijuana in two city resolutions, but both times was threatened with losing federal funding should the city choose to.[5]

City council abuse of public time and resources

A request for computer usage records of the city council show that councilpersons spend a substantial amount of time during council meetings surfing the internet.[6]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: Texas Municipal League members list

El Paso pays membership dues to the Texas Municipal League, a government sector lobbying association.

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngB
Budget Y
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Meetings
{{{1}}}
Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials P
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Permits, zoning
{{{1}}}
Audits Y
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Contracts
{{{1}}}
Lobbying P
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Public Records Y
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Local Taxes
{{{1}}}

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process
See also: Evaluation of Texas city websites

In 2011 El Paso earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 5 years.[7]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 8 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 8 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
    • Meeting videos are available.[8]
  • Elected officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[9]
  • Administrative officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address and phone number.[10]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[11]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2006 are available.[12]
  • Public records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by the Municipal Clerk. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
    • A public records form is provided by the Municipal Clerk.
    • A fee schedule for documents is provided.[13]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[14]
  • Information on Lobbying is published.[15]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[16]
  • Campiagn finance reports are published.[17]

The bad

  • Administrative officials
    • Personalized email not listed for all departments. Citizens must fill out an email form in most cases.[18]
  • Lobbying
    • If the county engaged in lobbying actives or if it's a member of government lobbying associations are not disclosed. Nor is the total cost of lobbying activities or membership dues for associations available.

External links

References

Portions of this text were taken from Wikipedia.