City Votes Down Stormwater Rate Ordinance

POSTED: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 6:31pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:22pm

The Rate Making Authority Stays with the PSB for Now

The El Paso City Council voted "no" to giving themselves authority to set storm water rates, leaving that authority with the Public Service Board.
Approving item 10 on today's agenda would have transferred the rate making authority from the public service board to city leaders.

Five members voted against the ordinance and three voted for it.
Those who voted against it did so for a variety of reasons.
One says she doesn't think the ordinance goes far enough. She wants the city to control more than just the setting of rates.
Others voted against it because they believe the Public Service Board is doing a good job.
It all started when opponents of the PSB submitted a petition asking the city council set rates.
But that's not all business owners are upset about.

"Its not all about the rates. As much as it is about the transparency. The PSB- there's a mystery, a black cloud that has surrounded them for many many years in El Paso. Theres no accountability, there's no transparency,” said Gerald Miller.

But the PSB sees no mystery in the way it operates.
"We're puzzled why a lot of these accusations are coming out. I was just speaking with one of the petition drivers and was telling them I've never heard from him personally," said Christina Montoya, a spokesperson for the Public Service Board.

The PSB actually lowered the storm water rates after they first went in to effect, but some business owners say they're still too high.
Now opponents will have to gather around 2,000 signatures once again by mid-February, something they say can easily be done.
Once that's done they can force the issue on the May ballot.

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