The Apartment For Rentals In El Paso

The apartment for rentals in El Paso

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Tax credits help cut reliance on El Paso Electric

El Paso Electric officials this week began selling small chunks of solar power to customers as an alternative to rooftop solar systems.

Victor Calzada / El Paso Times

Mayor Oscar Leeser complained in a recent column in the El Paso Times that El Paso Electric was again seeking another rate increase to cover its operating expenses. He pointedly described the $3 million compensation to its CEO and $2.5 million to its 11 directors as unjustified. Leeser ended his comments by stating his opposition to El Paso Electric’s treatment of solar energy users.

The CEO responded that she felt the mayor’s comments did not reflect “the sentiment of all the people in El Paso.”

A normal person would be hard pressed to explain her tone-deaf response. I think I can.

A few years ago, I was invited to a dinner party attended by several members of El Paso Electric management. As the evening unfolded, some of those members spoke out in defense of rate increases in the face of specific management decisions that had cost the ratepayers of El Paso a great deal of money. Apparently, the company has a monopoly on electricity sales in El Paso, which guarantees it a rate of return.

Let me say that in a different way. I think what was being said is that no matter how poorly the company is run and how poor its investments might be, the company is and should still be guaranteed a profit. And according to Leeser’s comments, the operating expenses of the company include the cost of extravagant salaries and benefits paid to its CEO and directors.

Having these thoughts in mind, perhaps there are ways to reduce our reliance on electricity from the electric company. Today, let’s look at the tax benefits of acquiring alternative energy sources.

1. Residential energy credit

The federal tax code allows individuals who purchase qualified solar electric property to reduce their taxes by 30% of the cost of that solar property. This is called a residential energy efficient property credit. This 30% is a tax credit: a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes, and not merely a deduction.

So, the question is what kind of purchase qualifies for this credit. A simple description is equipment that uses the sun to generate electricity in a residence that is located in the U.S. and lived in by the individual.

What immediately comes to mind is a solar panel that fits on top of the roof and generates electricity for the house. These panels have become so sophisticated now that they can actually become part of the roof, but they qualify even if placed next to the home. Typically, the way this works is the solar panels produce enough electricity to cover electrical use during the day and any excess actually reverses the meter to the electric company. At night, when it’s not producing electricity, the excess electricity is made available to the homeowner for uninterrupted use.

Another type of property commonly used is a solar water heater, at least half of the energy usage of which is derived from the sun. Other such property includes wind energy, fuel cell, certain heat pumps and geothermal energy. There are conditions and requirements, but they are fairly straightforward for those who are willing to make the effort.

Because of the advances made in technology in recent years, these solar panels have become much less expensive. It is not uncommon for half of the cost of a solar panel system to be paid for by the federal tax credits and the rebates from the electric company and others. For some, this creates a seven-year rate of return for recovery of expenses, assuming the electric company keeps its rates the same (which is of course an unreasonable assumption).

Interestingly, El Paso Electric has offered rebates to people who buy solar panels, helping to further reduce the cost of installation. I find it odd that the electric company would incentivize the purchase of solar panels by offering cash rebates and then turn around and target such users for additional costs.

2. Business energy credit

There is also a solar energy credit for equipment that uses the sun to generate electricity to heat or cool business property. Again the credit is 30 percent of the cost of the solar property, commonly known as the solar panels.

I think monopolies are much like government bureaucracies — the citizens pay regardless of productivity.

So, friends, if you support “business as usual” concerning the cost of and access to energy, then this article is not for you. If, however, you support the mayor’s point of view, then you might consider alternative energy possibilities. My opinion is that using tax incentives to reduce our reliance on El Paso Electric might be a worthwhile undertaking.

David Leeper is a board certified federal tax attorney with 38 years of experience. He can be reached at 581-8748, by email at or visit

BRIEF-El Paso Electric q1 loss per share $0.10

May 3 El Paso Electric Co:

* Q1 loss per share $0.10

* El paso electric co qtrly operating revenues $171.3 million versus $157.8 million

* Q1 earnings per share view $-0.08 — Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S Source text – Further company coverage:

El Paso County looks to off-load detox facility

Detox currently is located next to the Criminal Justice Center on East Las Vegas Street.

After AspenPointe bailed on the "Lighthouse" detox facility in 2008, no one stepped up to provide an alternative. The hospitals were screaming about it, because their emergency rooms were filling up with drunks.

Then-Sheriff Terry Maketa solved the problem by erecting what’s called a sprung structure, funded, in part, with money he received from the federal government for housing deportees in jail pending deportation. Hospitals also have helped pay to run it. (Maketa has since fallen from grace and faces trial next month on several charges arising from a grand jury indictment.)

The last time we wrote about the detox program was last year when the county quietly transferred the program from the sheriff’s office to community services. ("El Paso County hopes to improve access with new oversight," News, Jan. 6, 2016)

The county’s release:

At the regular meeting of the Board of El Paso County Commissioners today, Commissioners listened to a report proposing a change of direction for the County Social Detoxification Program. The County has gone above and beyond for the past eight years to provide this community benefit, even though the service is not Statutorily required. When the County took on the program it was intended as a “temporary solution.” As El Paso County continues to grow, hospitals and doctors have expressed concerns that a purely social detox model is not sufficient to meet the needs of the community. Experts in the medical community have suggested that El Paso County needs a medical model detox center staffed by medically trained experts able to assist individuals to move toward long term sobriety. “We recognize that there is a growing need in the County, but we do not have the proper facilities, expertise, staffing and statutory designation to provide a more medically based model,” said Julie Krow, El Paso County Department of Human Services executive director. “Based on the general direction offered by the Board of County Commissioners today, we look forward to working with leaders in the medical community, law enforcement, non-profits and others to establish a detox model with more robust medical and clinical services to better serve our community.” In 2016, the operational cost of the El Paso County social detox problem was just over $2 million. El Paso County contributed about 25 percent of that total cost. The Penrose-St. Francis healthcare system, Memorial Healthcare and Aspen-Pointe (Managed Services Organization for State funds) contributed the rest of the funding. El Paso County will continue its financial support for Detox services and is committed to working with the state and its providers as well as the local hospitals through a smooth transition to a new and enhanced medical and clinical model for detox. Administration proposes that the County no longer manage the social detox program. Not only will a true medical services provider will be able meet longer term needs of patients, it may also be able to bill Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance carriers to help pay for those services; something which the County cannot do. AspenPointe, formerly Pikes Peak Mental Health, used to run the “Lighthouse” facility, which struggled for years to maintain operations due to funding issues. In 2008, the facility closed with only two months’ notice. Without a legitimate community detox program, emergency rooms filled up with people who were intoxicated. The county jail, which was at full capacity, was not able to accept such individuals. Law enforcement officers spent time many nights driving patrol cars with individuals who were intoxicated in the back seat. Area hospitals and the community approached the County and asked for a solution. In 2009, a Community Social Detox/Triage facility was established in El Paso County. The County has operated the licensed facility, with Certified Addiction Counselors (CAC), providing admission, assessment, detox treatment/service plan, and discharge after care plan for individuals. However, detox is not a statutory function of County government so, from the very start in 2009 it was thought that this should be a temporary solution to address and urgent need in the community.

El Paso mayoral candidates make their pitch at forum

El Paso mayoral candidates make their…

EL PASO, Texas – Candidates running to become El Paso’s next mayor met Tuesday night for a debate at El Paso High School. The event was organized by Coronado High School’s "We(fillintheblank)" club.

All of the candidates were in attendance. ABC-7 spoke with the candidates after the debate, and asked them why they are running for mayor. Here are their responses.

Emma Acosta:

"We are in a renaissance right now, and I love my community. I want to continue to see that growth. And the progress that we’ve done, I want to see that continue. I was just having a conversation right now with a young man. We were talking about investment in the Medical Center of the Americas and how we’ve seen it expand in the last eight years. We’ve seen a lot of growth in our community. We are seeing a renaissance downtown, and I want to continue to see that and I want to continue to serve my community and serve the people of this community, make sure that we hold the line on taxes like everybody wants, start fixing those streets neighborhood by neighborhood not pothole by pothole, and make sure that we provide for our disabled community, for our veterans, and our senior citizens."

Willie Cager:

"We need to make changes in the policies. If I become mayor of El Paso, it will be my first time ever [in office], but I will get things done."

Dee Margo:

"Frankly, I care about this community. I spent 40 years here, it gives me roots. I grew up moving every three years. I love this community. Everything I’ve ever done reflects this community. Whether it be the civilian aide to the secretary of the army, serving in the legislature or doing Operation Noel coats for kids."

Elisa Morales:

"The thing that I see is most pressing is that we need to have a government that is willing to engage with our community. I’ve been to many council meetings, I’ve talked to many constituents and many people feel like they don’t have a voice in our government. And that’s a really really unfortunate thing because our government is supposed to serve our community. And another thing is that we are really spending a lot on priorities that the city or many community members may not feel as important. We talk a lot about roads, but we haven’t invested in healthcare, or education outcomes, or senior citizen services. These things are really important just as it is important to invest in our roads."

Jaime Perez:

"I think we are facing enormous challenges at the national level. They are interrupting trade with Mexico. We are having mass deportations which means less consumers in El Paso. We are having a wiping out of community development block grants. You’re having a situation in which the city is facing an enormous amount of economic cutbacks. So now we have to respond to that and change the conversation from ‘feel good projects’ to ‘what are we going to do when the money runs out?’"

David Saucedo:

"I’m running because I think El Paso needs a change. We are in a moment here in El Paso where the people are frustrated. They want a change they want prosperity. they want opportunity, and we need to level the playing field and give opportunity to all here in El Paso."

ABC-7 was not able to interview Jorge Artalejo or Charlie Stapler. Our photographer was unable to locate them after the debate. We apologize.

Shopping For A Home In El Paso

El Paso is a great place to call home. The city itself is incredibly safe, having been voted as the safest big city in the United States for four years in a row. Add to that the fact that there are a ton of things to see and do in the area, and it is clear to see that this Texas town is an exciting place to live.

If you are shopping for a home in the city, there are some steps that you should take to ensure that you buy a property that you will love. Before you even start your search, you should set up a time that you can meet with a banker. That way, you can discuss your finances and get preapproved for a loan. Your banker can help you determine exactly how much money you can comfortably spend each month without straining your budget too much.

The next step is to reach out to an experienced real estate agent in the area. When you first meet with your agent, provide them with a list of the features and amenities that you are looking for in your new home. That way, they will have something to go on when they begin looking for homes that will meet your needs.

When you do eventually find a home that you love, you should make an offer right away. However, this offer absolutely needs to be contingent on having the home inspected. Never forgo a home inspection. By having the home inspected, you can avoid buying a property that has hidden problems that may cost you a lot of money to fix after the sale goes through.

Shopping for a home in El Paso, Texas can be quite a thrilling adventure. Just be sure to approach the process with common sense rather than allowing your emotions to rule your decisions.

A List of Fantastic Sights to See in El Paso, Texas

Are you planning a vacation to El Paso, Texas? Does your itinerary need some beefing up when it comes to fun things to do and fantastic sights to see? In this article, we will discuss what you can do in El Paso to have the best vacation you possibly can.

1. Plaza Theatre

Located in El Paso, Texas is what is known as Plaza Theatre. Plaza Theatre is one of the most popular landmarks within the city. These days, the theater continues to operate, showing concerts, Broadway productions, and individual performers for the public to enjoy.

2. El Paso Zoo

What location within a city is more exciting to visit than a zoo? A zoo is especially wonderful to travel to if you are traveling with children. El Paso’s zoo is highly impressive, covering 35 acres and housing over 220 species of animals. Be sure to stop by the sea lion exhibit, and watch one of their daily shows!

3. Franklin Mountains State Park

Do you enjoy hiking, biking, or otherwise spending time in the scenic outdoors? Then Franklin Mountains State Park is the location for you. Enjoy the sight of the Franklin Mountains while picnicking with your whole family in El Paso.

In conclusion, El Paso, Texas is home to a number of fantastic sights to see and fun things to do. Whether or not you choose to view a performance held at the Plaza Theatre, enjoy amazing animals housed at the El Paso Zoo, or have a blast hiking with your family among the Franklin Mountains, your vacation to El Paso is sure to be unforgettable and amazing. We didn’t cover everything there is to explore in this wonderful city, so be sure to do as much as you can while you are there.

Burges Yearbook once again Nominated for Highest Award in Student Publishing – El Paso Herald-Post

Burges High School’s award winning yearbook once again earned another finalist nod for the prestigious Pacemaker Award. Hoofbeats has received 14 Pacemaker nominations in the past two decades and won eight times.

The award is known as the Pulitzer Prize of high school journalism, the highest award a high school publication can receive.

“With the Pacemaker, it’s nice just to be nominated,” said journalism teacher Pat Monroe.

She credits her students’ passion and work ethic for consistently creating an award-winning book.

“We spend endless hours up here. This is really our first home,” she said. “My philosophy is that good things happen to those who work hard. You cannot put together a book in 42 minutes of class time. I always tell my kids to work from their hearts. Work from their head and work from their hearts. We do all of this with love.”

Editor Jasmine Tabler hopes to see a fourth Pacemaker in her future. Tabler student has worked on three books that already have earned the prestigious award.

“It feels good,” she said. “It’s rewarding. Every year, I’ve been in this program we’ve gotten nominated and we’ve won every year so far.”

She credits Monroe for her guiding students through the pages of the yearbook.

“I’m really thankful for her,” she said. “It’s because of her that we’re able to get it done.”

El Paso Texas

Nestled between the Rio Grande river just across from the Mexico-United States border of Ciudad Juarez, El Paso is often referred to as international metropolitan areas and commonly called the Paso del Norte translation: El Paso-Juarez-Las Cruces. (more…)

Burges Yearbook Once Again Nominated for Highest Award in Student Publishing – El Paso Herald-Post

Burges High School’s award winning yearbook once again earned another finalist nod for the prestigious Pacemaker Award. Hoofbeats has received 14 Pacemaker nominations in the past two decades and won eight times.

The award is known as the Pulitzer Prize of high school journalism, the highest award a high school publication can receive. (more…)