EL PASO, Texas - City Council Monday decided it needs more information from experts before voting on City Rep. Lily Limon's proposal to raise the minimum wage for janitorial, security and grounds maintenance contract workers to $10 an hour.
The City will seek input from UTEP, The Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness and its consultants in order to learn how other cities dealt with similar proposals.
Rep. Limon has consistently raised concerns about low wages for people employed by contractors doing business with the City.
Many of the companies and contractors hired by the City pay their employees about $7.25 an hour, city officials said.
Rep. Michiel Noe believes wages should be set by the free market, not government.
Noe said Limon's plan would be bad for taxpayers. "We're voluntarily, that is artificially, raising the price of a contract and saying 'okay I'm not going to pay for it. The taxpayers are going to pay for this," Noe said.
City staff reported the increase would have an estimated $3 million annual budget impact.
Rep. Emma Acosta pointed out some of the City's very own employees are not being paid $10 per hour.
There are 36 total active city contracts for janitorial, security and grounds maintenance.
There are 382 total contracted employees providing these services to the city. 248 contract workers are full-time and 134 are part-time.
Limon has long said it is hypocritical of the City to promote the idea that El Paso is no longer a low wage city while doing business with companies who pay employees low wages.