Thursday, November 10, 2016

UT Regents rubber stamp almost $400 MILLION in new debt


"There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it."
Proverbs 21:20

Some of these projects are probably worthwhile, but the overall package is ridiculous:

Regents approve PUF proceeds for capital projects, including first-of-its-kind collaboration 

AUSTIN—The University of Texas System Board of Regents today approved $392.2 million from Permanent University Fund bonds as a source of funding for nine capital projects at UT academic and health institutions. 
This year’s provision included a new approach by Regents – cross-institutional facilities funding for a first-of-its-kind collaboration, an example of Chancellor William H. McRaven’s charge to UT System institutions to break down silos, operate as a “team of teams” and leverage the System’s collective size, talent and scale to attack challenging issues facing our world today. 
At the Chancellor’s recommendation, Regents approved $45 million in PUF bonds for a cancer collaboration among UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, UT Health San Antonio, UT Health Northeast, UT Medical Branch in Galveston and UT Austin’s Dell Medical School. The funds will be divided roughly equally among the five institutions, targeting the most critical capital needs in each setting. The money may be used to renovate existing facilities or build new facilities. It could also be directed toward the purchase of equipment and information systems, including systems that would enable digital health services such as telepathology and teleradiology.  
.... 
 The bulk of the total — $347.2 million — is earmarked as a source of funding for several new important facilities at UT academic and health institutions that will provide the opportunity for world-class research, teaching and clinical care for Texas and beyond.
Read the whole thing, including the full list of expenditures, here.

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While we're on the subject, check out this gem they discussed in the executive session:
U. T. El Paso: Discussion and appropriate action regarding the purchase of approximately 458 acres of land out of the J. Baker Survey #10 and the I. F. Harrison Survey #54, located on Paisano Drive and Interstate Highway 10 in El Paso, El Paso County, Texas, commonly known as the former ASARCO smelter site, from ASARCO Texas Custodial Trust, for future programmed campus expansion.
And what, pray tell is the "former ASARCO smelter site"?!?
University of Texas System officials are in negotiations to possibly purchase the former Asarco copper-smelter site in West Central El Paso for expansion of the UTEP campus, Asarco site trustee Roberto Puga said.

The environmental cleanup of the site is nearing completion.

....

The smelter site has restrictions and obligations that the buyer will have to meet, Puga has said. One of the biggest obligations is for the buyer to preserve and monitor a 5-acre landfill where hazardous waste is buried, he has said.

No residences can be built on the 210-acre smelter site. But commercial buildings, classrooms and stadiums could be built there, he has said.

No price for the land has been publicly disclosed.
Separate press report makes another good point:
The Board of Regents is chaired by El Paso businessman and philanthropist Paul Foster.
So they, literally, intend to spend tens of millions of dollars to purchase a toxic waste dump; read the the whole thing here and here.

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