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El Paso plans to spend more than 100,000 on holiday lights annually

By: Stacey Welsh

EL PASO, Texas -- The city's general services department says the holiday light display in downtown costs about $115,000 each year. El Paso General Services Director Stuart Ed said most of the cost comes from the labor to put the lights up and take them down.

"Normally the costs are about $15,000 for replacement of displays; new lights, and adding to displays," Ed said. Ed said the money comes from taxpayer dollars in the city's general fund.

"A lot of people don't have lights at their home, so this is a way to bring the Christmas spirit to everybody," Northeast El Paso resident Wendy Ramos said.

The holiday decorations at Shawver Park stirred up controversy earlier this month for their $25,000 price tag.

"The parks and recreation department is working closely with the mayor and council. The intent was to offset those costs with private donations, and I know that that's still underway," Ed said.
To put that into perspective, those behind other area decorations said it is the thought that counts.

The Fountains at Farah said it wants its lights and ornaments to reflect the holiday spirit.

"Though we will not disclose expenses for our dcor, but we can confirm that we spent more than what was spent at Shawver Park," the Fountains said in a statement.

The city of Socorro also sets money aside for holiday decorations throughout the year.

"The Halloween event that we had was $8,000. We had our Fourth of July event which is $15,000. So, we usually switch between $8,000 and $15,000 on our events," Socorro Mayor Jesus Ruiz said.

Some El Pasoans told KFOX14 paying for any holiday decorations is money well spent.

"Just looking again at the community, at least it's something we enjoy," Northeast El Paso resident Idaly Ramos said.



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