Debts to County Could Make Up Budget Shortfall

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POSTED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 5:12pm

UPDATED: Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 7:56pm

EL PASO--- A county in crisis. $11 million in the hole, and commissioners have been searching for every nickel and dime to cover the deficit.

But now they're considering an option some say should have been thought of from the start: collecting the money they're owed.

"I don't know why not before. Why, why do we have to wait until there's a crises to identify (the problem)?" said Commissioner Dan Haggerty.

Haggerty says the County is owed dozens of millions of dollars: from unpaid property taxes and unpaid judicial ruling, to unpaid traffic tickets.

It all adds up, helping to cover the deficit and more.

"It would save potential jobs, and furlough days, and riffing people and lowering across the board salaries for county employees," said Haggerty.

But how do they get people to pay?
Here's one idea Haggerty says they're looking at: putting a hold on vehicle registrations at the County tax office.

"People are having a love affair with their cars. They will get those license plates renewed, and if we have an opportunity to catch them right there for funds they owe to the county, we're going to implement anything and everything we can to get that," he said.

But some say, in these economic times, the task will be difficult.

"Well, I hope they don't force people to pay because there's a lot of people unemployed right now," said taxpayer Ray Mena.

If the county doesn't collect some of this money, Haggerty says the lay-off, pay cuts, furloughs, and even tax hikes will still be possible.

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Not to mention across the border motorists don't pay these registration fees/taxes and yet they use our roads that our taxes pay for.

Also if the city was smart they would push yet again a state flat-rate tax law that was to apply to non-U.S. Citizens that work in Texas. Don't people realize taxes are what pay the bills for schools, roads, un-employment, and etc.

Why should they get a free ride?

People would be able to pay their property taxes if the county didn't add outrages penalties and attorneys fees. If payment arrangements are being made, it's obvious, that they can't pay the full amount. Prime example, let's say you have been making payments for a couple of years and are in arrears $6000.00. By the time they assess penalties and attorneys fees, you have a balance of $12000.00. When are you ever going to finish paying? Why must the tax burden always fall on property owners???

By all means, COLLECT.... and what about the South of the border violators? When the intersection cameras take their picture, just how do you collect those fines? Or is it only applicable to the taxpayer/registered voter?

Get the money!

I agree with you. These people are trying to figure out a way and dont look at the reality that most of that money owed is from the south not us.
Why are the county employees having to suffer for a county wide problem. I dont see other companies taking pay cuts to solve the deficit. What did the county employee who is a single mom making 25000 a yr suffering for what the county has allowed to happen all these years to get us to this point.

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