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A reader posted a comment yesterday alerting us to a website recently launched by the University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC). The website lays out a case for the $345.7 million in non-voter approved debt that UMC is seeking. On June 27, 2022, the county commissioners authorized the required public notification that UMC intends to issue up to $400 million in certificates of obligation. Certificates of obligation do not require the approval of the voters.

On July 7, 2022, UMC published the first of the two required notices in the newspaper. The second notice is required 30 days before the county commissioners vote on the measure. County commissioners are expected to vote on September 12. As we reported earlier, UMC’s chief executive officer, Jacob Cintron has never voted in Texas.

UMC Website Screenshot, July 12, 2022

UMC’s website lays out the five “needs” that the hospital district intends to use the non-voter approved money they are requesting. They are expanding critical bed care, expanding surgery capacity, adding a neighborhood health and urgent care center, increasing the El Paso Children’s Hospital’s capacity, and creating a cancer center.

UMC’s website continues to argue that it will cost taxpayers $4.73 a month for the first nine years and $2.39 a month for the last 14 years, assuming the non-voter approved bonds are paid on time. As we previously reported, UMC bases its figures on a $100,000 home but the reality is that the average home value in El Paso today is about $195,000, almost twice as much as UMC uses to calculate the cost to the taxpayers. Using the more accurate figure, the actual cost to the taxpayers will be about $9.23 for the first nine years and $4.66 afterwards, twice the amount argued by UMC. Use our exclusive UMC Tax Lookup Tool to see how much your taxes will go up if county commissioners vote on the non-voter approved bonds.

UMC also continues to argue on its website that using General Obligation bonds (GOs) is not feasible because UMC cannot wait until the voters approve their tax increase request.

According to webhosting records, the domain name for the website was registered on July 7, 2022. The website is hosted on servers operated by a French company, OVH.com. It appears that the UMC website is currently hosted on servers based in Canada. Although the company that designed the website is not listed on the website, our investigation shows that Stanton Street of El Paso is hosting the website for UMC on OVH servers and is likely the company that created the website. Stanton Street was founded by Beto O’Rourke who is currently running for Texas governor.

It has been reported to us that at least two petition drives are currently collecting signatures from voters. The petitions demand that the county commissioners take the non-voter approved bonds to the voters instead of approving them as certificates of obligation as requested by UMC officials.

Martín Paredes became a partner of Politico Campaigns, a political campaign management firm, in June 2022. The views and opinion expressed in our publication are those of Paredes and do not necessarily represent the views of the firm or its other partners. El Paso News is funded primarily by Paredes, in part by donations from readers and online advertisement. Politico Campaigns plays no role in our reporting. El Paso News has an open editorial policy encouraging any author to submit any article from any point of view for consideration to be published on El Paso News.

Martin Paredes

Reporting on public corruption, border politics, immigration and public policy in El Paso since 2000.

6 replies on “UMC Launches Website To Appeal To Voters For $346 Million In Non-Voter Approved Debt”

  1. This isn’t about quality care, it’s about jobs for our community and more cancer tech jobs at $22/hr. Very annoying that you pick on UMC.

  2. Is there a business case for how the expanded capacity will generate revenues to amortize the debt? Or is is just passed onto the taxpayers forever? How about the private hospitals in El Paso? Is UMC duplicating their service – that cost the taxpayer nothing – and why would that be necessary? Need I mention the Children’s Hospital fiasco?

  3. My guess is that the UMC money trail leads to Foster’s interests in some way that I am not clever enough to fathom, why I’m not a billionaire 🙂

  4. @VC so what you are saying is that the taxpayers should foot the bill for those new jobs? I’m not saying that the money isn’t justified, but creating jobs is not a reason to fleece homeowners.

    I agree with JK that there needs to be a convincing business case to justify all those $$$. Where I disagree with JK is his assessment of the private hospitals. These are FOR PROFIT hospitals whose profits leave the community. Those companies are getting rich off the backs of one of the poorest cities in the US. These are some of their most profitable hospitals. They didn’t get that way by prioritizing quality of care and providing care to the un/under-insured. At least UMC and EPCH are non-profits so when they make money it has to be put back into the business.

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