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Sticker Shock for El Paso County's capital improvement plan

By Matthew Smith, Good Morning El Paso Weekend Anchor / Reporter
Published On: Nov 20 2012 12:13:04 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 25 2012 05:48:33 PM CST

ABC-7s Matthew Smith reports.

El Paso, TEXAS -

$1,500 for a chair, $16,000 for a printer, and a few thousand more for a bench.

These are some of the prices that raised eyebrows of at least one county commissioner during their weekly Monday morning meeting.

While attempting to set prices for the county's capital improvement plan, a list of prices were discussed. According to El Paso county auditor Wallace Hardgrove, the auditor's office is recommending spending $6.8 million on general items over the next 12-18 months. An additional $2.1 million would be used to repair the Sheriff's Office roof. That leave a little more than $3 million for issues that arise at a later date.

Spending money to keep the county is a necessity, but Commissioner Dan Haggerty questioned several items.

"I mean $1,500 for a chair, $2,000 for a trash can, I feel like I'm getting porked," said Haggerty.

Haggerty said it appeared the county was trying to hard to keep a high standard. He admitted there are valid arguments for some items adding he doesn't want to oversee each price himself, however, he scoffed at the price of a chair for a judge at a pricetag of $1,500.

"You don't sit at a chair like that, you light a candle for it," said Haggerty.

All kidding aside, Judge Veronica Escobar said the cost would be beneficial over time. She argued that she looked into the prices too. According to her, the quality of the items means they'll last longer, which in the long run saves the county money.

"It's very unlike a desk costing $200 made of particle board, that may need to be replaced next year," said Escobar.

The county commissioners decided to table the issue, and wait until next week to potentially approve those budget items. Next week, the auditor said he'd put a presentation together explaining some of the items that caused "sticker shock."


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