I'm against adding a fee to your water bill in order to prop up street improvement projects. There are several issues here.
1. The only group you can blame for the pace of street and drainage improvement construction is the city engineering department. Rampant design flaws in almost every project holds up contractors who must wait for the city and the design engineer to work them out. This also costs money. There are basically three or four firms that get all of the design work from the city. The status quo has become slow, slogging construction due to errors. There are a ton of design firms in El Paso who never get work from the city these days (including my parents). Maybe it's time to let someone else give this design thing a try. Maybe go with firms who have historically low change orders attached to their design.
I don't see any amount of money fixing this fundamental flaw with city engineering.
2. Even with a good intention to keep this fee low... we know they can increase it in the future and likely will. Once you introduce a tax, it never goes away.
3. There should be no precedent set to introduce fees when budgets exceed revenue.
I do have to hand it to Representative Cortney Niland, she's the only member of council who has even suggested a solution to the problem. Representative Lilly Limon gave speech after speech about cutting the budget and then suggested she get more discretionary funds and a million dollar set aside for her staff. It was like she was in a hole and announced that she stop digging and then asked for a bigger shovel. The rest of council have been no help, either.
Why anyone would be mad at Niland for suggesting a solution to a problem (which is the primary function of her job as a representative), is beyond me. It's not like Niland initiated a coup and is imposing this fee without a vote. She has put up a solution that will get thrown into the democratic process. YOU have an opportunity to use your voice to express your opinion to those who will vote on the issue. You haven't been cut out of the process because someone suggested a solution you don't like. Calling Niland names will not help anything and just shows your ignorance of the duties of elected officials and the process of making law.
Speaking of ignorance - make sure you aren't seen as a complete moron when making your points on this issue. The brilliant blogger, who counts Anthony Cobos as his personal hero and savior, had a little breakdown in logic in his post on the matter. He reached back to the storm water fee (something I still disagree with for many reasons) and said it was a rip-off because there is still flooding in El Paso. He pointed to the flooding on I-10 the other day as proof that the money was spent improperly.
It's people like Martin who you don't want arguing for your side of an issue. It never occurred to Paredes that I-10 is under the care of TxDOT. He also failed to realize that current construction on I-10 in that area exasperated the problem. But, you know the Paredes crowd - they don't care for facts when bullshit is so much more fun to spread.
With people like Martin advocating for the same thing you are, it's tough to win. They make everyone look like they are full of shit. A good example - Four Names Allala and her email crusade. She turned an entire community against her noble goal.
The other part of getting your way in government is to have your own solution to replace the one you don't like.
If the city can't match the budget to revenue, then it's time to cut nonessential services. This means cutting the staff associated with the services as well. It's time to farm out many of the city's functions to contractors who will assume all the expenses of providing the service. It's that simple...
Oh and sell a ton of the city's real estate assets.