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El Paso County Commissioners vote to give themselves 16% raises

UPDATE: ABC-7 was able to speak with County Judge Ricardo Samaniego as well as Precinct 3 El Paso County Commissioner Iliana Holguin about their decisions.

"I've always expressed that I'm just not comfortable with giving myself a pay raise. I think that that's a decision that should be governed by the state. I think that that's what we should look into," said Holguin. "I don't think that it's fair that we as a body can decide to give ourselves raises. You know, the residents of El Paso don't have that ability to just give themselves raises."

But Judge Samaniego said his vote reflected his belief that raising salaries -- to include his own -- is about the bigger picture.

"There's a process that looks at other counties, and tries to maintain the pay that can be competitive. We have such amazing things that are coming up. We've got the BOTA that's almost $700 million, if not $800 million; we've got the expansion of I-10; we're probably going to be one of the top aerospace communities in the country. And you really need high-caliber people to be able to manage these initiatives," he said. "Going forward -- whether it's me or someone else -- it's not just about me. If I make a decision, it's that I want to maintain the kind of pay that will attract high-caliber; and El Paso requires high-caliber elected officials. And you don't want them to be discouraged of the sacrifices that we have to make in order to adjust to a different salary."

ABC-7 also spoke with El Pasoans to understand their thoughts.

"I think it's cool that they want to get more in their paychecks to help out people, but the thing is that, when they do that, they're not really helping out the community. Because they're raising the taxes, and taxes are really high right now, so that's not real good for the community," said El Paso taxpayer Olga Cortez.

Judge Samaniego said that although El Paso is one of the top 10 counties in the state, its elected officials are the least paid. He said the county has had a goal for years to reach at least 80% of what other counties' elected officials make, and they still have not reached it.

A full list of all elected officials getting a raise and their salaries can be found here.

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- This week, El Paso County Commissioners voted four to one to give themselves a 16% pay raise. Other county employees are also set to get raises.

In addition to the hefty pay raises, El Paso County Commissioners Court is set to vote on a proposed tax increase. A possible tax rate is about 45.9 cents per $100 property valuation.

Only Precinct 3 Commissioner Iliana Holguin has spoken out against a tax rate increase. She was also the only one to vote against the pay raise.

A county tax rate will be adopted next week.

Meanwhile, the general budget is being considered. It's possible it could increase about $10 million from the last fiscal year. The all funds budget is estimated to be about $12 million more than last year.

ABC-7 has reached out to each commissioner as well as County Judge Samaniego to find out more about what you can expect to pay this coming year.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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Kerry Mannix


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