For one - there is no increase. The item was pulled. It didn't happen. So all of you yelling at the top of your lungs can shut up now because you are complaining about something that didn't happen. That's like bitching about the steak you didn't even order, much less eat.
Second, it's all routine stuff and at least one item was designed to SAVE YOU MONEY!
The $5 million for the "sidewalks" (it was called "way finding") was simply a move to streamline a project that was already budgeted. The sidewalks project went out for proposal months ago - my parent's firm submitted on it and were shortlisted. My dad mentioned to the city that the best scenario for the way finding project was to do it in conjunction with all the construction going on with the new ballpark. It would be ridiculous to finish the ballpark and then rip up all the sidewalks in the area afterwards.
Basically this move was to make that project happen at the same time as the ballpark construction under the same construction and design management team. It's more expensive to have another contractor and design team come in after and start construction. Certain things always go wrong when you have one set of contractors and engineers working right next to, and in this case on top of, another set of contractors and engineers. I could get way into inside baseball here, but trust me - you wouldn't want four separate architects and contractors building your home and you wouldn't want the same scenario on a public works project if you can avoid it.
The $5 million for sidewalks IS GOING TO BE SPENT. The money and the need has always been there with or without the ballpark, so they will move forward with the project. They have an engineer on board for the design already. What was proposed to council was a much better solution. So, if you're pissed about that - stay pissed because the money is going to be spent and the sidewalks built. However, it's going to take longer, cost more and will not likely match up to the ballpark. Think of a brick house with a stucco addition.
The other $5 million is totally standard in the world of paying for things with bonds. What most of you don't know, because you're way to busy being angry first and educated second, is that there are strict rules pertaining to how you pay for municipal projects. The are multiple funding sources and they each have their own rules and budgets. If you get a federal grant to build a street and the costs go over what was made available in the grant - somebody is screwed. The city can't just write checks to cover situations like that - there are rules.
Securing an extra $5 million using the bonds the city has slated to sell for the stadium is standard practice in every city in Texas. And in this case, it's highly beneficial to YOU the taxpayer. That $5 million would come out of the HOT monies and other revenue streams that are not propped up by your property taxes. I hate to say it, but a 10 percent cost overrun on a project of this size is rather common. To put it plainly - shit happens. Conditions underneath the ground tend to vary and cause problems. It is not the contractor's fault it rains a month straight, or that some materials become absolutely scarce in the wake of a disaster in another part of the country. This extra $5 million finances those unforeseen conditions through taxes paid by those not living in the City of El Paso, which is a good thing.
What happens now? You're on the hook for any change orders. You pay out of your back pocket instead of charging strangers for it. Your outrage shows just how stupid you are and you inability to realize that you are screwing yourself because you don't like Joyce Wilson.
Now, the city didn't do a good job of explaining all that to you. And in the "I hate Joyce" frenzy of late, people have stopped looking at issues before they start screaming. Had the city gone to council and explained to them what this all means, we wouldn't be in the situation we are in now - which is one where mob ignorance results in the mob punishing itself.
You people sure showed Joyce Wilson a thing or two today! You cost yourself $5 million in taxes when you could have saddled someone else with them. Good job, guys. You make those El Paso jokes the rest of Texas tell so much easier to laugh at.