by Max Grossman
Our County Commissioners Court consists of four Commissioners and a County Judge.
In 2016, our four County Commissioners were paid $62,680 per year and the County Judge was paid $87,577.
But in that year the Commissioners voted themselves a 42.4% pay increase, raising their salaries to $89,250 while the Judge’s salary was increased to $102,000.
In 2019, they voted to raise Commissioners salaries to more than $114,000.
This week they voted 4-1, with Commissioner Iliana Holguin dissenting, to raise the salaries of Commissioners by 16.2%, to nearly $133,500 per year, and to raise the Judge’s salary to $152,700—effective October 1.
See the report by Cindy Ramirez of El Paso Matters.
That means the salaries of the Commissioners have increased 112.9% since 2016 and the salary of the County Judge has increased 74.3%!
By comparison, El Paso City Representatives currently earn $52,500 and our Mayor $78,750.
COUNTY SET TO INCREASE PROPERTY TAX
Commissioner Iliana Holguin of District 3 is the most fiscally conservative member of the County Commissioners Court. She is against raising our County property tax and in favor of adopting the no-new-revenue tax rate of 40.2 cents per $100 of valuation.
But her four colleagues on the Commissioners Court seem poised to vote for a higher rate on August 28, possibly the 45.9-cent rate, the highest rate that does not require voter approval.
Let’s not forget that the County recently authorized $100 million in certificates of obligation and tax anticipation notes, and now they are planning to go for a general obligation bond of $100 million in 2024 for quality of life initiatives.
That is potentially $200,000,000 in new debt!
Meanwhile the City, under its new leadership, has committed to not raising the property tax or issuing new bond debt in 2024.
Moreover, the State of Texas plans to deliver a substantial reduction of the school portion of our property tax.
It is unfortunate that our County, with the exception of Commissioner Holguin, does not share the commitment of our City and State to provide tax relief to El Pasoans.