FULL STORY: The Battle's Not Over for El Paso County

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POSTED: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - 6:26pm

UPDATED: Thursday, January 6, 2011 - 6:01pm

Cuts, cuts, and more cuts - that's what commissioners expect for the county again this year.

Many social programs that were in the clear last year could end up back on the chopping block.

"We chopped, we Julianned, we sliced and diced, and there's a lot more of that that we're going to do this year," said commissioner Daniel Haggerty.

A new year, with the same problems.

"We're spending money on parks, we're spending money on the coliseum, we're spending money on the nutrition program," Haggerty said, describing programs that the county funds although they are not state-mandated to.

"The big thing that I'm looking at is the Sheriff's budget which will increase by $5 million; where am I going to get that?" he asked.

Haggerty says the contract with the Sheriff's department was drafted at a time where money wasn't so tight. He says they may not be able to keep the same number of Sheriff's deputies, even after last year's cuts.

"We didn't eliminate the opportunity to eliminate 22 employees again this year," Haggerty said. "I'm not threatening that, but that is a huge hit."

Haggerty strongly opposes raising taxes to cover the deficit; something that commissioner's court newcomer Sergio Lewis agrees with.

"A tax height ought to be the last thing, as a desperate measure," Lewis said. He expects the state legislature to throw some money out because of the dangerous situation across the border.

"Having to provide relief to our sister city, we're having to provide medical care," Lewis said.

But Haggerty is less optimistic.

"State legislators, they don't care about El Paso anymore than they care about Snake's Navel, Texas," Haggerty said.

There may be a silver lining, though. The county has come up with a system to find people who owe the county money. That program generated over $90,000 last month. But that still leaves millions to make up for - a job that Haggerty isn't looking forward to.

"This is one of the craziest jobs in the world; it's a tough job," he said.

Comments News Comments

Like EP tradition "why work harder and makes things better, when the minimum is enough."

Why are manifesto's still around? We give medical care to mexico citizens for free and mexico doesn't reimburse us for it. They don't pay taxes for our roads and yet they work here.

We are more concerned about giving handouts to another countries people then we are in helping ourselves.

No wonder why we are a joke to the rest of Texas.

Why can't you run the City of El Paso, TX like other cities in Texas i.e. Dallas, Houston, Odessa?

Why is it always cut, cut, cut???

Your job as leaders is to protect jobs, beautify and STOP all the negative thoughts. It is not a hard job, it is knowing what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Plan and see the future!

Get with it! Make the Great City of El Paso TX shine.

Blue print other successful cities.

Mr Mendoza, we need to incorporate people in El Paso that aren't paying ANY taxes. I am a home owner here. I pay for things I don't use IE the community college and Thomson Hospital. A good percentage of People that use those facilities dont pay any taxes. Everyone should be paying their fair share.

What the county and the city need to do is institute a consumption tax like a wheel tax for instance that would incorporate everyone in the county that purchases Gasoline. Currently the only people who pay taxes are home owners or business/property owners. There is a huge segment of the population here in El Paso who don't pay any taxes to include income taxes. Lets not forget how many Americans who live in Juarez but work here that do not pay any taxes. Its time for everyone to pay their share

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