EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – On Thursday, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo delivered his ‘State of the City’ address at the convention center in Downtown El Paso.
Margo took a moment to remember the victims of the August 3 shooting but focused on what the city is doing to improve safety. He said crime in El Paso has decreased.
“We only had 18 murders in 2018, this is totally an anomaly this is not us. We are safe we are one of the safest cities in the nation and we will continue to be so,” said Mayor Margo.
He credits this safety to investments made in public safety. Margo also said one of the most important investments for the future is the multi-million dollar Public Safety Bond that was recently approved by voters. Margo says it’s long overdue.
“Our police headquarters is in a building built in 1947, the parking garage is collapsed. It would cost $6.1 million to fix the parking garage, it’s ridiculous. It’s not hardened from a security standpoint and it’s not user-friendly,” said Mayor Margo.
Margo also addressed the cities financial state saying it’s in good shape but that the city is working to attract more commercial investment.
“The problem is we have to increase the commercial tax base. We need more commercial investment and that’s what we’re working on,” said Mayor Margo.
In an interview, the Mayor brought up the streetcars poor ridership. However, he said the city is not losing money because of the streetcars.
Mayor Margo said, “I keep hearing people say we shouldn’t have built the streetcars because of the ridership. Well, that was a grant of $97 million from TxDot, it had nothing to do with our city budget.”
Margo said the streetcars help with the development and more residential occupancy in downtown, El Paso. According to Margo, it has been continually growing. However, with that growth in downtown comes the controversial arena debate.
“Some of them are saying we want a place for UTEP to go play, get it built. We need more concerts, get it built, you can’t have a big concert at UTEP,” said Mayor Margo. “So I got to tell you, I think significantly more people are fed up with all the litigation and the cost and want to get the project built.”
Mayor Margo said is the goal of the State of the City Address was to have everyone see what has been accomplished and start planning for the years to come. Margo said he feels there has been neglect in past city leadership that he is still trying to reverse.