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Q&A: Prop 11

Proposition 11

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities.”

If voters approved Proposition 11, it would allow bonds to be issued in El Paso County for parks and recreation facilities.



State Rep. Joe Moody, District 78

Q: Why should the average Texan care about Proposition 11?

A: In 2003, a similar constitutional amendment was put to the voters across Texas and it included multiple other counties. El Paso was not included in those and so, while it looks strange, I think, to people voting in other parts of the state that this is specific to El Paso County and why should they care one way or the other about what happens in El Paso County—The point would be that we’re asking to be included in the set of counties that we are similar to. This is an authority that other counties have right now, and we’d like to be included in that and that would give the people that live in these water reclamation districts the ability to approve debt for recreational facilities. Which is something that other communities have the ability to do, so we just want to be included in that conversation.

Q: Something similar had been proposed in 2011 but it had failed. How different is it this time for this to get passed? Is there a stronger movement for this and is there more public support than the last time this was put up for a vote?

A: So it narrowly failed the last time this was put up to the voters in a different form, and I think that probably is because it’s specific to El Paso County. It also deals with issuing debt and that’s also a politically sensitive issue. So it narrowly failed then. We’re going to do our best to get the word out to other parts of the state, you know, to talk about why this is important for us. My hope is, I don’t think the political conversation has changed much. I think issuing debt is still something that people will look at very closely, but one thing I’ve always heard is, and I’ve been in the legislature now 14 years, typically if we’re going to issue debt as a governmental entity, people even if they are on the conservative end of the spectrum, ‘well at least ask the voters for their permission.’ So that has that in here. Voters that would be affected, that would have to pay for it are going to have to say yes or no. Just like they would have to do for a bond at the school district level and they either think that’s a worthwhile use of their taxpayer dollars or they don’t. So I think it’s one of those things, this isn’t automatically issuing debt and creating debt in our community, this just gives those communities the opportunity to discuss it and put it forward to the voters and if the voters want to do it, they can do it.

Q: Why do you support this proposition?

A: Absolutely. This is a great tool that if communities want to be able to invest in recreational facilities and that makes those communities much more livable for young families. Part of our challenge, really part of anybody’s challenge in this state, is making sure our communities are livable, that they have the amenities that young families would want in the communities they live in so that when we’re recruiting companies and we’re recruiting families to move here and we’re talking about economic development, this is one of the things that goes side by side with that. You want to make sure that if these types of things exist in Bexar County, we want to make sure that they exist in El Paso County so that we can be more competitive. These are the types of things, I’m a young father myself and so I certainly look when I moved houses a few years ago, I certainly looked at ‘what are the parks in the neighborhood? Is this a walkable neighborhood? Is this a safe neighborhood? You know, what are the things that are available for my kiddos to do so that we can enjoy where we live?’ That’s what I think is most important about it. 

– This Q&A was edited and condensed. Interview conducted by Alberto Torres and Tim Ramos.



Fran Rhodes


True Texas Project

Q: Why should the average Texan care about Proposition 11?

A: Constitutional amendments are generally worded in a vague and nonspecific manner.  It is important that voters do their own research, read the enabling legislation, and understand exactly what they are voting for.  Our recommendations are just that—recommendations.  We urge voters to inform themselves, study the materials, and make good decisions.  Whether people agree or disagree with our recommendations, we want them to know the facts.

Q: Why do you oppose it?

A: Prop 11 gives additional authority to one county to issue bonds for development and maintenance of parks.  While parks are a good thing, there are other ways to fund them rather than putting additional property taxes on the taxpayers who are already overburdened.  We generally oppose all bonds, so we are suggesting “against” this one.

– These statements were emailed to The Mesquite by Rhodes.

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