Facing a $10 million budget deficit, El Paso County is doing everything it can to try and make up some of that huge number.
And that includes raising the cost of making copies.
At Monday’s Commissioner’s Court meeting the public learned that the cost of making copies at the District Clerk’s office will soon double. But the move is expected to save some employees their jobs.
“The copy fees we raised by a quarter, just kind of go with the flow of the economy,” District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez told Commissioner’s Court Monday. “We haven’t raised the fees in eight years.”
The current rate is 25 cents per copy. Next week, it’s going up to fifty cents per copy. And that increase is expected to make another $100,000 dollars per year for the office.
“I’ve been asked by commissioners to cut our budget by $200,000 so this revenue will help cut that percentage,” Sanchez said. “
Sanchez said the decision for him was simple: Either double the cost of making copies or lay off several of his employees.
“Some of our courthouse fees are way out-dated,” County Commissioner Veronica Escobar said. “And in fact go back to 1986.”
Escobar said that’s because the state legislature must approve most fee changes. But not this one.
“In this case, the district clerk is able to do it, which is great,” Escobar said. “It will be helpful.”
Great for everybody, except people who need copies.
“It’s expensive, yeah,” said Amy Saldivar, who paid more than $12 for about 50 copies on Monday, but would have paid about $25 if she waited until next week. “I beat the price raise.”
Those who are expected to be hit hardest by this fee increase will be private attorneys. One attorney at the courthouse Monday said El Pasoans can expect them to pass that additional cost on to their clients.
In all, Sanchez said this could save the jobs of 10 to 15 employees. He added the district clerk’s office is working to put all of its documents online, which would allow people to print them at home.