El Paso

Why will El Paso county commissioners give themselves a pay raise?

County commissioners to give themselves raises

When El Paso county commissioners vote on the fiscal year budget on Monday, they'll likely vote to raise their pay by four percent.

"You don't look good giving yourself a raise," said Commissioner Andrew Haggerty, who represents precinct four. "Trust me, if you ask any county commissioner in Texas, they would say, 'I would love to give that job to someone else.'"

Haggerty told ABC-7 that several years ago, the county human resources department recommended that commissioners make 85 percent of market value. 

"We argued that, based on El Paso having a lower cost of living and salary range, that all elected officials would be at a minimum of a 70 percent of market," Haggerty said.

So every year, all elected officials will get a pay increase so their salary is 70 percent of market value, he explained. However, other county employees are eligible for raises above that.

"As elected officials, we're the only people that we cap at a 70 percent mark," Haggerty said. "Our clerks don't make 70 percent of market. Our attorneys don't make 70 percent of the market. All of our county employees are either at or exceed market except for the elected officials."

Commissioners previously made $90,142.50 each per year. After a four percent increase, they'll make $93,748.20 next year.

The county judge is proposed to get a two percent increase to maintain 70 percent of market value, Haggerty said. County Judge Ruben Vogt made a $103,020 salary. His successor, Ricardo Samaniego, will make $105,080.40.

"It's only the elected officials that we say, 'Hey listen, you asked for the job, you asked for the conditions of El Paso, so you're not going to be at the full of the market," Haggerty said.

Other budget items

There is close to $700 million worth of need in the county for repairing flood zones, the commissioner said. In the next fiscal year, the county will allocate $7 million toward that.

"We're going to be able to do some small things to really help the people who need it the most," Haggerty said. "But we can't fix it all. There's a finite amount of resources."

The county will also lower the property tax rate, but with property values increasing, residents will still likely have to pay more, Haggerty said.

"Because the average home value went up, even though we're lowering the tax rate... there will be a little more additional taxes," Haggerty said.

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