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Socorro budget change could mean more opportunities

By: Stacey Welsh

SOCORRO, Texas -- A change in this year's budget, mean Socorro city leaders could have a chance to learn from other leaders across the country. The Socorro City Council approved a trip to an annual mayor's conference in Washington, D.C. for Mayor Jesus Ruiz and Representative at Large Rene Rodriguez.

"Every city has conferences, and everybody travels. [El Paso Mayor] Oscar Lesser went to San Antonio to meet with the mayor of San Antonio. So, conferences are never a bad thing. They're always a good thing," Ruiz said.

Ruiz told KFOX14 the city has more money for opportunities like this because the council voted to change the amount of discretionary funds each City Council member receives earlier this year. He said each council member used to receive $10,000 in discretionary funds, but some past members are accused of spending that on personal expenses.

Now, Ruiz said each council member receives $1,000 in discretionary funds, and the money saved goes elsewhere in the budget.

"That's a significant decrease, but we figure that that would alleviate a lot of the issues that we have. Because of that, we'll be able to transfer that money into other parts of the budget that were underserved before," Ruiz said.

Ruiz said that could help city leaders pass on skills they learn at conferences to student interns, a program the city plans to start in the next couple of months.

"The city of Socorro, it's a growing city. It allows our youth to actually be able to compete with other cities out there like San Antonio and Austin," Socorro resident and current Texas Tech student Daniel Vargas said.

Ruiz said the city could pay interns using the city manager's budget.



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