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Friday , October 19 2018
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Tag Archives: city of el paso

IEDC Awards City ‘Silver Award’ for Regional Economic Development Strategy

The City of El Paso’s Economic and International Development Department received a Silver Award for Regionalism and Cross-border Collaboration from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest organization of professional economic developers.

“El Paso has always been a leader in promoting regionalism and collaboration. Not only is this because of our geographic proximity to Mexico and New Mexico, we also have a leadership and staff that focuses on supporting and building relationships with all our regional allies,” said Jessica Herrera, Director of Economic and International Development.

The award recognizes a City for innovative approaches to regionalism and other forms of cross-border cooperation across a city, county, state, and internationally. The City of El Paso was honored for its strategy and efforts to create a world-class medical center at the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA).

“Our goal at the MCA is to create a regional biomedical industry that will foster and accelerate innovation, create new employment opportunities and meet the healthcare needs for the entire Paso Del Norte region,” Herrera said.

Eddie Garcia, Assistant Director of the Economic and International Department, accepted the award at IEDC’s Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on October 3, 2018.

While at the conference, Garcia passed a certification test making him the first Certified Economic Developer in the City of El Paso.

New Franchise Fee for Electric Bills Starts October 2018

In March of 2018, the City of El Paso and El Paso Electric (EPE), came to an agreement to increase the City of El Paso franchise fee to electric bills for residents and businesses within El Paso city limits.

The one percent increase will begin October 1, 2018, and will be reflected on bills as a separate line item.

El Paso Electric (EPE) officials say “a federal tax rate reduction and a decrease in fuel costs, will offset the increase.”

Via a news release, officials added:

In April of 2018, EPE began providing a credit to customers due to the federal tax rate reduction passed in December of 2017. As a result, a typical residential customer in Texas using an average of 635 kilowatt hours of energy per month began to see an average monthly bill decrease of $3.83, or 4.5%. Additionally, EPE filed to reduce the Texas Fuel Factor charge by approximately 29.1%, a decrease reflected in customer bills since May 2018.

The City of El Paso franchise agreement was last changed in 2010. The agreement specified that EPE would pay to the City of El Paso, on a quarterly basis, a fee of 4% of the gross revenues EPE receives from its customers within the city limits.

“EPE operates under franchise agreements with several cities in its service area that enable the utility to use public rights-of-way necessary to serve its customers…these agreements provide EPE access to the electric infrastructure in city alleyways and street corridors, which provide and maintain service to customers,” company officials said.

City: $1M in CDBG Funding Available for Neighborhood Improvements in Districts 3, 5

The City of El Paso announced on Thursday that they will allocate $1 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to improve low-and moderate-income neighborhoods in Districts 3 and 5.

Each targeted district will receive $500,000 for needed improvements in their neighborhoods.

Via a news release, city officials stated, “CDBG’s main purpose is to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing, a suitable living environment, and economic opportunities to low- and moderate-income residents. CDBG funds have such a positive impact in El Paso’s neighborhoods not only with improvements but by building a sense of community pride.”

Proposed projects must be located in either District 3 or 5, be in a CDBG eligible area and benefit low- and moderate-income neighborhoods to be considered for funding.

CDBG funds can be used for a variety of projects including:

  • Neighborhood, Recreation and Senior Centers
  • Park Improvements
  • Small-Scale Green Infrastructure
  • Libraries
  • Walkability and Accessibility

The City will also receive approximately $2.6 million for large-scale citywide projects. More information on these projects can be found by clicking on the banner on the Community + Human Development webpage.

Citizen request forms can be downloaded at the website or picked up at any City facility located in Districts 3 or 5 (libraries, recreation and senior centers) or at the Community and Human Development located in City 3 at 801 Texas, 3rd Floor.

Deadline to submit a proposed project is 6:00 p.m. Friday, September 28.  For more information, call (915) 212-0138 or email CDBGApplications@elpasotexas.gov

Philip Etiwe Selected as Director of Planning and Inspections

On Sunday, the City of El Paso announced the selection of Philip Etiwe as Director of Planning and Inspections.

“We are excited to welcome Philip to help lead a City department that plays a critical role in the advancement and growth of our community,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “Having previously worked for the City of El Paso, Philip will be able to hit the ground running to continue developing strategic and innovative solutions for our community.”

Most recently Mr. Etiwe worked as the Director of Community Development Services and Chief City Administrator for the City of South Fulton, Georgia, where he was responsible for creating and setting the foundation for Planning Services, Building Permits and Inspections, Engineering, Code Enforcement, Business Licenses, and The Geographic Information System (GIS).

As Chief City Administrator, he was responsible for assisting the Mayor by assigning priorities and objectives to city staff.

“Philip brings more than 28 years of private, public and non-profit experience that will greatly benefit the residents and businesses of the City of El Paso,” said Deputy City Manager Cary Westin. “He has in-depth knowledge on economic development, urban planning, downtown and neighborhood developments, and is proven to be successful in identifying service gaps and creating efficiencies.”

Members of the development community were a part of the interview panel and provided input on the selection of Mr. Etiwe.

Mr. Ray Adauto, Executive Vice President of the El Paso Association of Builders, said, “The community appreciates the opportunity to participate in the selection process and believes Mr. Etiwe is a great candidate for this important position.”

Mr. Etiwe graduated with a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Colorado Graduate School of Architecture and Planning and bachelor’s degree in Land Use Resources and Environment from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

Etiwe’s new position is effective August 27, 2018.

City Snags $20,000 Competitive Grant Award

The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund announced the City of El Paso will receive the $20,000 CityStart initiative planning grant to identify and plan for financial empowerment strategic priorities.

”The City of El Paso is committed to creating an environment supportive of financial stability for the most vulnerable in our community,” stated Director of Community + Human Development and Chief Resilience Officer Nicole Ferrini.

“Currently we are pursuing key actions that improve citizen access to basic services and increase availability of affordable housing while expanding both educational and economic opportunity. The CityStart initiative will help us help El Pasoans achieve their goals and realize their dreams.”

The City of El Paso, working with the CFE Fund, will construct and host a day-long municipal financial empowerment “boot camp” aimed at financially empowering residents.

Based on issues identified in the boot camp, El Paso will craft its municipal financial empowerment blueprint identifying actionable implementation steps.

“Cities control a host of policies, programs, and funding streams that can transform the lives of residents with low incomes on a large scale,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund Jonathan Mintz.

“Across the nation, more and more city leaders are embracing high-quality financial empowerment programs to improve the financial stability of their city residents and communities. We congratulate Mayor Dee Margo and look forward to working with him to empower El Paso residents, and we thank JPMorgan Chase for their longstanding commitment to and investment in municipal financial empowerment.”

The CityStart initiative, with support from JPMorgan Chase and others, offers mayors and their administrations a structured approach to identify financial empowerment goals, organize stakeholders for sustainable success, develop concrete strategies, and ultimately create a blueprint that includes local priorities and opportunities.

The CityStart initiative draws on the CFE Fund’s extensive programmatic work with local government leaders in over 60 cities, connecting critical on-the-ground insights about the impact of financial instability on families, communities, and municipal budgets with tangible, measurable, and sustainable municipal strategies to improve families’ financial lives.

City Awarded $100K Grant to Support Growth of Local Minority-Owned Businesses

El Paso is one of five cities selected for this year’s expanded City Accelerator program, an initiative helping communities create jobs by growing their network of local minority-owned local businesses.

El Paso and other cities chosen to participate in the program by the Citi Foundation and Living Cities will receive a $100,000 grant and other services such as coaching, technical assistance, and implementation resources to advance entrepreneurial efforts aimed at growing locally minority-owned businesses.

Other cities selected for the program include Atlanta, Long Beach, Newark and Rochester.

“This grant presented a unique opportunity for the City to expand services that support our regional entrepreneurs,” said Jessica Herrera, Economic and International Development Director.

Throughout the next year, El Paso as part of this program will focus on expanding small business services offered through the El Paso Public Library.

“The El Paso Public Library System is a support mechanism within our community that aims to enhance economic and educational opportunities, especially for our minority population. El Paso has over 54,000 minority-owned local businesses and with the City Accelerator Program we will enhance and cultivate the business community to support regional entrepreneurial efforts,” said Mayor Dee Margo.

For additional information, please visit Governing Magazine, Citi’s blog to follow the progress of the City Accelerator participants.

Video+Story: El Paso a Finalist for $1m Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Project

Wednesday morning, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that the City of El Paso has been selected as a finalist to potentially receive up to $1 million as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, a program that aims to foster creative collaboration, address civic issues, and support local economies through public art.

More than 200 cities applied, and El Paso, along with 13 other cities, has been invited to submit a full proposal.

In February, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more to submit proposals for temporary public art projects that address important civic issues, and demonstrate an ability to generate public-private collaborations, celebrate creativity and urban identity, and strengthen local economies.

Proposals address a range of pressing issues and social themes such as environmental sustainability, immigration, national disaster recovery, and cultural identity. Additionally, the proposals reflect a diverse use of artistic mediums including augmented reality, light installations, murals, and performances.

The City of El Paso proposed the development of “Border Tuner,” a large-scale, light and sound installation that highlights connections between El Paso in the U.S. and Ciudad Juárez in Mexico.

The piece by Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer will provide a platform for a wide range of local voices and will be an opportunity to draw international attention to the complexity and interdependence between the sister-cities that create the largest bi-national metropolitan area in the western hemisphere.

The project will be a collaboration between the City of El Paso, the Rubin Center at The University of Texas El Paso, the El Paso Community Foundation, the Fundación Comunitaria de la Frontera Norte, Ciudad Juárez, and the state Government of Chihuahua.

“The project is an opportunity to involve citizens from both sides of the border in a celebration of our complex and long-standing history of collaboration, and to share that message of bi-national cooperation with a national and international audience,” said City of El Paso Mayor Dee Margo.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will select at least three winners from 14 finalists in the fall to execute their projects over a maximum of 24 months. The grant is intended to provide catalytic funds as part of a strong, committed consortium of supporters.

The grants will cover project-related expenditures including development, execution, and marketing, but will not fund 100 percent of the total project costs.

The Public Art Challenge is a part of Mike Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative, an effort to help U.S. cities generate innovation and advance policy. The Public Art Challenge allows mayors and artists to join forces to elevate the value of including the creative sector when developing solutions to significant urban issues.

More information about the Public Art Challenge can be found online.

Council Approves $400k+ for Consulting Group to Help Develop Plan to Manage City’s Growth

On Tuesday, the City Council approved a contract with Stantec Consulting Services, who will assist city officials in developing a plan to provide the framework for managing growth citywide, particularly on the Eastside.

“El Paso is growing and meeting our growth challenges means we need to be ready to maintain and expand municipal services and infrastructure in a manner that addresses the needs of our citizens while making growth areas attractive to private development,” said City of El Paso Capital Improvement Director Sam Rodriguez.

“This plan will serve as a guide for managing future public investment to deter growth from happening haphazardly,” Rodriguez added.

Council approved awarding an approximate $413,000 contract to Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.

Via a news release, city officials shared, “The firm will provide the City with the tools and key policies needed to manage growth citywide and a masterplan for managing growth on the Eastside, the City’s fastest-growing region.”

The contract is funded through the City’s 2019 Capital Plan.

“Those who live, work and visit the Eastside have told us they want a network of streets that are safe and easy to navigate, more public safety services, walkable blocks, transit-oriented development, parks and open space serving local and regional needs, libraries, unique and memorable places, destination retail, and a mix of housing options for a range of incomes. This plan will provide us with the tools and key policies to achieve a sustainable roadmap to the future,” Mayor Pro-tem Michiel Noe said.

Development of the plan will take approximately 10 months, and officials say that, “the process will include an extensive public engagement process to ensure growth areas are developed in line with the community’s vision.”

City Schedules 2019 Budget Sessions Starting Monday, July 9th

The City of El Paso will begin the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget sessions on Monday, July 9, in the second floor Main Conference Room of City Hall located at 300 North Campbell.

All budget sessions will be broadcast live on City TV (U-Verse 99, Spectrum 1300, over the air 13.4, and online) and will be re-broadcast at 6:00 p.m. The meetings are also streamed live on the City’s website.

The meetings will be held:

  • Monday, July 9 – 9:00 a.m.

Goal Team Budget Presentations*

 

  • Tuesday, July 10 – 12:00 p.m.

Goal Team Budget Presentations*

 

  • Wednesday, July 11 – 9:00 a.m.

Goal Team Budget Presentations*

 

  • Thursday, July 12 – 9:00 a.m. (only if needed)

Goal Team Budget Presentations*

 

  • Monday, July 30 – 9:00 a.m.

Special City Council meeting to review Certified Valuations and introduce FY 2019 Tax Rate

 

  • Tuesday, August 7 – 9:00 a.m.

Regular City Council Meeting – 1st Public Hearing on Tax Rate

 

  • Tuesday, August 14 – 9:00 a.m.

Regular City Council Meeting – 2nd Public Hearing on Tax Rate

 

  • Tuesday, August 21 – 9:00 a.m.

Regular City Council Meeting – Council adopts FY 2019 budget and tax rate

 

*Goal Presentations

Goal #1                  Economic Development, Airport, International Bridges, and Destination El Paso

Goal #3                  Planning and Inspections

Goal #2                  Fire, Municipal Court, and Police

Goal #4                  Library, Museums & Cultural Affairs, Parks & Recreation, and Zoo

Goal #5                  Information Technology

Goal #6                  City Attorney, City Manager, Human Resources, Mayor & Council, Municipal Clerk, Non-departmental,                         Comptroller, Purchasing, and Tax Office

Goal #7                  Capital Improvements, Sun Metro, and Streets & Maintenance

Goal #8                  Animal Services, Community Development, Environmental Services, and Public Health

City of El Paso Earns Governor’s Achievement Award for Performance Excellence

The City of El Paso was recognized this week with the 2018 Texas Award for Performance Excellence Achievement recognized by the Quality Texas Foundation.

“El Paso continues to shine in Texas, nationally and internationally as a leader among leaders,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “The recognition further reinforces our stature and strategic direction.”

This recognition is the second highest recognition level by the State of Texas for performance excellence across entities including for-profit, not-for-profit, educational institutions, health care facilities/hospitals, manufacturing, and small businesses.

“Top performing organizations drive the direction of their strategic vision, embrace continuous improvement, and focus on delivering results to the communities they serve,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “This recognition aligns with the City’s resolve to deliver outstanding services to our residents, businesses, and visitors.”

Team El Paso was recognized with the 2018 Achievement Award for its “well-deployed, effective, and systematic approaches to organizational management and for demonstrating improved performance in key areas of leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, measurement, analysis and knowledge management, workforce focus, and operations focus.”

The Criterias help guide organizations, no matter what sector or size, to achieve and sustain the highest national levels of customer satisfaction and engagement, product and service outcomes, process efficiency, workforce satisfaction and engagement, and social responsibility.

El Paso is the largest local government in Texas to undertake this comprehensive, international best practice criterias at an organizational scale.

City Recognized for “Ask Laura” App

The City of El Paso was recognized as a 2018 Best of Texas Awards Winner by the Center for Digital Government at the annual Texas Digital Government Summit.

“Ask Laura,” the City of El Paso’s virtual information officer, was recognized as the Best Application Serving the Public. The Center for Digital Government identified the customizable look and voice and the software providing analytics and reporting as reasons for the recognition.

“The City of El Paso was honored for implementing ‘Ask Laura,’ a chatbot avatar with audible and on-screen messaging,” said Department of Information Technology Services (DoITS) Director Enrique Martinez. “Four departments are currently using ‘Ask Laura’, and we have plans to expand this customer service avatar to other departments to deliver outstanding customer service to the citizens.”

“Ask Laura” is currently available on the Purchasing and Strategic Sourcing, Tax Office, Planning and Inspections, and Airport websites.

The Best of Texas Awards program recognizes public-sector professionals and local government organizations for their dedication and contributions to advancing information technology in Texas.

Winners are selected based on a number of criteria, including collaboration among agencies, innovative use of technology, economic benefits and improving public services and business processes.

Visit govtech.com for more information.

City Announces 16 Intersections to Get Traffic Lights

Commuters in far East El Paso now have a new signalized intersection to assist with traffic management and enhance roadway safety.

The intersection of Rich Beem and Pebble Hills is the first of 16 intersections getting traffic signals as part of the City’s commitment to invest in mobility and enhance its regional comprehensive transportation system.

According to city officials, most of the intersections will be signalized within 16 months. All the projects are scheduled to be completed by 2020. The cost to signalize each intersection is about $300,000.

“Motorists are encouraged to use caution while traveling through the newly signalized area,” officials added.

The other intersections funded to receive signals are:

  • Resler and Northern Pass
  • Pebble Hills and Sun Fire
  • Kenworthy and Sun Valley
  • Marcus Uribe and Sean Haggerty
  • Tierra Cortez and Tierra Este
  • Resler and Nardo Goodman
  • Alameda and Whittier
  • North Loop and Lafayette
  • Schuster and El Paso
  • Zaragoza and John Hayes
  • Pellicano and Michaelangelo
  • Northwestern and Helen of Troy
  • Silver Springs and Shadow Mountain
  • Doniphan and Bird
  • Doniphan and West Green

City Attends Summit in Houston To Boost Trade Opportunities with Japan

The City of El Paso and its partners at the Borderplex Alliance were among dozens of development, policy and business leaders gathering in Houston this week at the Japan-Texas Economic Summit to foster connections and expand trade.

“Effective economic development is about relationships. To be successful at attracting new companies to our region we must foster relationships on a global platform. We are among the top 10 exporters in the nation so it makes sense that we would want to showcase El Paso at this international summit,” said Jessica Herrera, City of El Paso Economic and International Development Director.

The conference hosted by the US.-Japan Council featured keynote addresses from prominent leaders from both the United States and Japan while highlighting Texas cities and their economic development opportunities in areas of innovation, workforce development, energy, medicine, manufacturing, transportation, finance and much more.

“These are exciting times in El Paso. We are making every stride to pursue business opportunities that can grow our economy, our job market and ultimately our community’s standard of living. Participating in these economic summits, particularly those at an international level, allow us to share our achievements to attract companies and talent,” said Cary Westin, El Paso Deputy City Manager.

El Paso accounts for 13 percent of all goods exported form the state of Texas. The El Paso Foreign Trade Zone is the fourth largest exporter in the nation.

In 2017, the local trade zone moved more than $6.5 billion worth of goods, a 200 percent increase over the previous year.

City Schedules Public Meetings for Proposed El Paso Charter Amendments

The City of El Paso Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee will hold a series of public meetings for the community to ask questions, review and make recommendations on proposed City Charter Amendments for a special election planned to be called with the November 2018 general election.

Proposed amendments to the City Charter include (1) increasing salaries for Mayor and City Council members; (2) reducing the prohibitions on outside public employment for Mayor and City Council members; and (3) having the City of El Paso Internal Auditor report directly to Mayor and Council.

Amendments to the City Charter were last made in 2015.

The Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee consists of a group of citizens appointed by Mayor and Council assigned with the responsibility of reviewing the charter and recommending proposed revisions to Mayor and Council.

The City Charter is the equivalent of a local constitution. It governs the form and powers of the city and the general responsibilities of the legislative and administrative powers. The charter is a written instrument that creates and defines powers, rights and privileges for a specific jurisdiction.

It addresses topics such as the city’s corporate limits, organization of city government, terms of office, and functions of elected officials, election standards, budget adoption and personnel management (city administration).

Members of the public are invited to attend the open meetings. The meetings may also be seen on the City’s website; they will be streamed live online.  The current City charter is available by clicking on the City Charter tab of the City Clerk webpage.

The open meetings are scheduled on the following dates:

  • May 7, 6 p.m., Grandview Center, 3134 Jefferson
  • May 21, 6 p.m., Don Haskins Recreation Center, 7400 High Ridge
  • June 4, 6 p.m., Marty Robbins Recreation Center, 11620 Vista Del Sol

 

Forbes Magazine Ranks El Paso Top ‘Affordable City’ in US

The City of El Paso has been ranked as the city with the lowest cost of living by Forbes magazine.

Forbes based the rankings on median income and the cost of necessities to arrive at the income needed to live comfortably. El Paso’s median income is $43,322, and the cost of necessities is $25,075.

The income needed to live comfortably in El Paso is $50,150.

The median household income in the United States is $57,617, but the cost of necessities is $57,311.

“El Paso is one of the best cities to live in,” stated City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. Our low cost of living, excellent workforce, and ranking as one of the safest cities means a superior quality of place for our residents.”

While many of the cities with low cost of living have rampant crime rates, the City of El Paso has also been able to keep crime down and is only one of two cities ranked that is able to do so.

The Forbes article goes on to state, “Affordable cities might be getting rarer, but they’re not completely gone. According to a new report by GOBankingRates on the salary you need to afford living, out of the 60 largest cities in the U.S., you can live comfortably in only 13 of them earning an income of $60,000 a year or less.”

More information can be found at forbes.com.

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