EL PASO, Texas - UPDATE: The county's budget includes an 8.5 percent property tax increase. For the typical homeowner with a house valued at about $129,000, that translates to an additional $50 a year in county taxes.
ORIGINAL STORY: El Paso County Commissioners approved a 2020 budget plan on Monday afternoon that contained pay raises for county officials -- including the commissioners themselves, who will now earn six-figure salaries.
Commissioner Vince Perez, who was the lone no vote on the budget, offered an explanation for why his colleagues voted for the raises.
"So the policy for the last three years is to pay elected officials 30 percent less than their peers in Texas. Which is again, a lower rate than other counties, and also a lower rate that what we applied to county employees. That was a policy for approximately three years," Perez explained. "This year the policy was to reduce that to 20 per cent. So elected officials are still getting paid 20 per cent less than their peers in Texas."
The budget covered raises for positions like county attorneys, judges, and the commissioners court.
By law, county commissioners are the only ones who can vote for their own raises. It was not, however, a public vote.
Prior to this new budget adoption, commissioners were paid about $93,000 annually. When the new budget takes effect, they will earn $114,000 a year.