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Home | Tag Archives: city of el paso (page 6)

Tag Archives: city of el paso

AARP Providing Free Income Tax Preparation at Parks and Recreation Locations

The AARP Foundation is offering free income tax preparation for low to moderate-income taxpayers at various City of El Paso Parks and Recreation senior centers through April 17.

Any person, of any age, may use this service and does not need to be an AARP member. Each individual tax return usually takes volunteer tax preparers about half an hour to complete. The free service is on a first come, first served basis so early arrival is encouraged.

“Last year AARP did more than 7,000 tax returns through the various locations,” said AARP Foundation Coordinator Carol Baker. The following senior center locations offer the tax preparation service:

Tax Preparation Locations

Memorial Senior Center                                 1800 Byron St.

(Mondays and Wednesdays)                               562-4260

Polly Harris Senior Center                             650 Wallenberg Dr.   

(Tuesdays and Thursdays)                                  581-9525

Eastside Senior Center                                   3200 Fierro Dr.          

(Wednesdays and Fridays)                                  591-4292

Hilos de Plata Senior Center                          4451 Delta Dr.

(Fridays)                                                           533-3207.

Website Ranks El Paso as 3rd of ‘Most Recession-Recovered Large Cities’

A recent study from personal finance website WalletHub.com has ranked El Paso 3rd in its list of 2017’s Most Recession-Recovered Large Cities. The Sun City also ranked among the best when looking at cities of all sizes, coming in at 13th.

 According to the website, the purpose of the study is “to measure the progress of local economies since the financial crisis.” WalletHub did this by comparing 505 U.S. cities of varying sizes across 18 key economic indicators, which include unemployment rate, home ownership rate, poverty rate, number of businesses, and gross metropolitan product (GMP) to name a few.

WalletHub officials said,” For many Americans today, the Great Recession is nothing more than the distant shadow of a troubled economic past. After all, the longest downturn since the Great Depression officially ended in June 2009, and cities coast to coast have completely bounced back. Some have even surpassed their pre-recession economic levels, thanks to lucrative industries that helped them rebuild or stay afloat through the crisis.

 The study also revealed that El Paso ranked 3rd in its list of cities with the highest decrease in poverty rate.

 “The results of this study shows that El Paso continues to move in the right direction,” said Mayor Oscar Leeser. “We’ve worked hard to address issues like unemployment and business growth, which is exactly what this study analyzed to determine which economies have grown in strength. It is reassuring to see an outside entity recognize the outcome of our efforts and hard work.”

2017’s Most Recession-Recovered Large Cities (WalletHub.com)

Overall Rank               City

          1                 Austin, TX

          2                 Denver, CO

          3            El Paso, TX   

          4                 Fort Worth, TX

          5                 Corpus Christi, TX

To view full study, click HERE.

To measure the progress of local economies since the financial crisis and how much work remains to be done in the name of recovery, WalletHub compared 505 U.S. cities of varying sizes across 18 key economic indicators. The data set ranges from “inflow of college-educated workers” to “share of households receiving public assistance” to “homeownership rate.”

Mayor, Council Release Emails Detailing Theft of $3.2m via Phishing Scam

Tuesday night, the City of El Paso released a limited number of emails about the events related to the theft of approximately $3.2 million via an email phishing scam.

City officials said the release was “at the request of Mayor and Council to enlighten the community (and) to assure the public that the City’s financial management system was not compromised.”  They add that the entire matter is “the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation and efforts to recover the misdirected funds are underway.”

The names and contact information of the potential witnesses, victims and suspects have been redacted to protect their identities during the ongoing criminal investigation.

The investigation of the misdirection of funds and steps to recover the funds are continuing.

According to city officials, the first misdirected payment occurred on September 28, 2016, and involved approximately $2.9 million in state funds for a project managed by the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA). The second misdirected payment took place on October 4, 2016, and involved approximately $312,000 earmarked for city projects.

To date, approximately $1.9 million of the funds have been recovered – a sum of $1.6 million of the approximate $2.9 million and a sum of $293,000 of the approximate $312,000.

The CRRMA is an independent governmental entity that was formed by the City of El Paso in March 2007 and is regulated by the Texas Transportation Commission. The City was granted authority to create the CRRMA and its board by the Texas Transportation Commission to study, evaluate, design, finance, acquire, construct, maintain, repair, and operate transportation projects.

The CRRMA has a seven-member board – six members are nominated by the Mayor and appointed by Council and its presiding chair is appointed by the governor.

The City of El Paso provides the CRRMA organization with support services for its daily business operations, such as accounting, auditing, procurement and accounts payable, however the ultimate authority for approval of payments rest with the CRRMA executive director.

Timeline

  • August 22, 2016 – The Imposter Granite Construction Company exchanges a series of emails with CRRMA. During these emails, the fictitious checking account information is submitted and changed from the legitimate Paso Del Norte Trackworks Checking Account information. The differences in vendor name are caught by a Purchasing Department employee who brings it to the attention of CRRMA. CRRMA instructs the Purchasing employee that the vendor is just changing their checking account and to process the change.
  • September 19, 2016 – The Imposter Granite Construction Company contacts CRRMA, the Comptroller’s Office, and the Purchasing Department to inquire about when the next payment will be processed. An accountant in the Comptroller’s Office questions the payment inquiry and forwards the inquiry to CRRMA. CRRMA responds to the Accountant and tells him he (CRRMA) has instructed Granite to contact him regarding all payment inquiries.
  • September 29, 2016 – The real Granite Construction Company contacts CRRMA to inform him that they have not been paid. CRRMA does not contact the Comptroller’s Office.
  • October 12, 2016 – The Comptroller’s Office contacts the real Granite Construction Office and asks if they received the $2.9 million payments. When the Comptroller is informed by the real Granite Construction that they did not receive the payment, the Comptroller submits a request to Wells Fargo to recover the payment.

To view the emails click either of the file links below:

Attachment – Limited Redacted Emails Related to Misdirection of Funds

Attachment – Additional Emails Related to Misdirection of Funds

Your City in 5: San Jacinto Plaza set to Open

In today’s ‘Your City in 5’, we have the information on the newly renovated San Jacinto Plaza. It details what the plaza has to over and all the unique features people can expect.

The video also highlights other of quality of life projects and free mulch for residents. For more information on all of these stories, visit www.elpasotexas.gov

City Names Deputy City Manager to Oversee Public Works

The City of El Paso announced on Friday the addition of longtime engineer Khalil Zaied as the newest member of its Leadership Team.

Mr. Zaied currently serves as the Deputy City Mayor of Operations for the City of Baltimore, a position he was appointed to by the Mayor of Baltimore. Baltimore is a municipality with a strong-mayor form of government.

“Mr. Zaied brings a wealth of experience and a valuable skillset. We look forward to the talent and leadership he will bring to the City and know he will be a significant asset to the organization,” City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said.

In El Paso, he will be stepping into the newly created position of Deputy City Manager of Public Works and Transportation. His start date with the City of El Paso is June 30, 2016.

He will provide leadership to the departments of Capital Improvement, Streets and Maintenance, Environmental Services and Mass Transit – Sun Metro, and will serve as the liaison to the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority and utilities.  Mr. Zaied will work part of the months of May and June in El Paso as he transitions from his current role to the City’s Leadership Team.

As the Deputy City Mayor of Operations for the City of Baltimore, a role he has held since 2012, Mr. Zaied leads the City’s daily operations and oversees many of its major initiatives, including the Department of Public Works, Department of Transportation and the Department of General Services and Parking Authority, among others.

In that capacity, he has led many of the initiatives for the Mayor of Baltimore including Public-Private Partnerships, municipal advertisements and the constant drive to promote the Red Line rail project.  In 2010, he was appointed to lead one of Baltimore’s largest and most dynamic agencies, the Department of Transportation.

He led their DOT team to expand the award winning Charm City Circulator program, expand the in-house paving program to 40 percent of the total paving Citywide, convert street lighting to LED, establish the largest bridge repair and replacement program in the City’s history, and construct the race track for the inaugural Grand Prix race.

“Deputy Mayor Zaied has repeatedly proven himself to be a skilled and innovative leader, and he has used his talents to successfully execute a number of my administration’s major initiatives,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “Our loss in Baltimore will be El Paso’s gain.”

Mr. Zaied has also served as head of General Services and established the first building assessment and occupancy program for the City, expanded the role of the Energy office beyond buildings, and instituted the Envista program to better manage the permitting process.

Other roles in government include; Director of Planning, Design and Construction for Baltimore City Schools, Chief of Conduits, and Chief of Highways.  He also served as a commissioner on the Governor’s Commission on Middle Eastern Affairs. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park.

Your City in 5: Barron Park, New Wolf at the Zoo & Huachas!

In this week’s Your City in 5, new information on the opening of Barron Park in Northeast El Paso and a new animal at the El Paso Zoo. There is also information on the “Huachas” tournament that is part of the 2016 El Paso Senior games.

Your City in 5 provides a weekly snapshot of your City government.

For more information on all of these stories, visit www.elpasotexas.gov

Your City in 5: Planes, Pets and More!

In this week’s update, you will find information on a new airline at the El Paso International Airport that will provide $49 non-stop flights from El Paso to Orlando, Florida.

Plus, the City’s new commitment to fix El Paso streets and an upcoming pet adoption promotion at the City’s animal shelter.

Your City in 5 provides a weekly snapshot of your City government. For more information on all of these stories, visit www.elpasotexas.gov

City Earns Prestigious Award for Excellence in Government Budgeting

The City of El Paso has once again received the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. The Office of Management and Budget has been lauded by the GFOA for its budget practices for 22 consecutive years.

The Budget Awards Program established more than 30 years ago is designed to encourage governments to prepare budget documents of the highest quality to meet the needs of decision-makers and citizens. The award reflects the commitment by the City of El Paso to meeting the highest principles of government budgeting.

OMB took a fresh approach to developing the City’s budget for FY 2016, which was approved by City Council. It prioritized the budget based on Council’s strategic goals. The end result was a budget that supported programs and services centered on enriching the community’s quality of life and economic, educational and cultural programs.

In order to receive the budget award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as; a policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communications device. To receive the award budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, and the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories.

The GFOA is a Chicago-based organization that is open to everyone whose career, studies or interests involve government financial management. GFOA members form a diverse group of individuals, from entry-level employees to senior managers who work for a broad range of governments, including cities, towns, and other municipalities of all sizes; county governments; school districts and special districts; public employee retirement systems; states and provinces; schools of administration and public affairs; libraries; federal agencies; and accounting firms, law firms, investment banks, and consulting institutions.

Author: City of El Paso

Your City in 5: Spring Break Edition

In today’s video you will find information on all the Spring Break 2016 activities provided by the City of El Paso. There is also information on free tax preparation and the citation amnesty program. Plus, a look at table tennis at the El Paso Senior Games

City set to save $570k after review of phone, internet services

The City of El Paso is set to save $570,000 from an employee-led Lean Six Sigma project related to processes for initiating and terminating phone and Internet services for city staff.

“The Lean Six Sigma process gave our team access to tools and resources which allowed us to bring about meaningful change,” said Roman Sanchez, Business Systems Analyst for the Department of Information Technology Services. “This was a unique opportunity to be placed in a leadership position and, ultimately, to streamline our operations and save money for the taxpayers.”

Sanchez led the team of employees whose original goal was to reduce costs by approximately $98,000 annually. In Fiscal Year 2015, the group’s findings and recommendations are set to save the city $114,000; In FY 2016, the first full-year under their process improvements, the city is expected to save $456,000.

“Lean Six Sigma is a strong management and leadership tool that empowers our employees to do amazing things for our city and our citizens,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.

This represents a reversal of a trend dating back several years. The cost of telephone and internet services for the city has grown by a yearly average of $205,000 since 2012.

Sanchez presented his team’s findings to El Paso City Council today. The presentation included the following process improvements to standardize and streamline the process for initiating and terminating services for city employees:

  • Develop a single 11-step process to replace an ad-hoc process which included nearly 40 steps;
  • Establish an electronic reconciliation process to review, analyze, and validate vendor costs and credits;
  • Develop reporting mechanisms to assist departments in managing costs and utilization; and
  • Completing an inventory of existing services an immediately disconnect vacant lines.

This Lean Six Sigma Project is part of the City of El Paso’s commitment to leveraging and expanding the use of current and new technology to reduce inefficiencies and improve communications.

Author: City of El Paso

City Manager to lead Performance Excellence Workshop at National Conference

The National League of Cities (NLC) has selected El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez as a presenter at this week’s national conference, the 2015 Congress of Cities and Exposition in Nashville, Tennessee. Conference organizers expect more than 2,000 municipal leaders in attendance at the event, which runs fromNovember 4 through 7.

On Wednesday, November 4, Gonzalez will lead an intensive, three-hour workshop on performance excellence strategies for attendees as part of NLC University, a collaborative educational and professional development initiative that helps municipal leaders – both elected and appointed – build the skills they need to better govern, serve, and advocate for their communities.

NLC University courses provide real-world solutions – and innovative new approaches – to the challenges that city leaders face.

Gonzalez’s presentation will highlight the seven Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria or areas of focus that can serve as a foundation for improvements in any municipality, organization or company.

He will also showcase some of the City of El Paso’s Lean Six Sigma process improvements that have led to enhanced service, improved morale and increased savings, including reversing a $7.5 million deficit, adding $2.5 million to the city’s fund balance as a result of cost-cutting measures, and substantially improving processes related to permitting, building inspections, and irrigation and asphalt repairs, to name a few.

“Presenting at a conference of this caliber provides a tremendous opportunity to showcase the City of El Paso and educate other cities, states and private-sector companies about the incredible leadership, vision and assets we have here in our community,” said Gonzalez.

NLC is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities through advocacy, networking, and professional development. Working in partnership with the 49 state municipal leagues, NLC serves as a resource to and an ambassador for the more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns it represents.

For more information about NLC or NLC University, please visit www.nlc.org.

Author: City of El Paso

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