Commissioners approve spending almost $1.5 million for two pieces of art

Bexar County Commissioners have approved almost $1.5 million for two pieces of art. It's a lot of your tax dollars that could be spent elsewhere, according to one judge.

SAN ANTONIO - Bexar County commissioners have approved almost $1.5 million for two pieces of art.

It's a lot of your tax dollars that could be spent elsewhere, according to one judge.

Bexar County Probate Judge Tom Rickhoff told KENS 5 he's concerned county commissioners are spending money the county doesn't have on artwork.

An aluminum sculpture called Plethora will cost taxpayers more than $700,000 by the time it makes its debut in 2018.

"It's like a child with money in their pocket and reaching for every piece of candy. They can't say no," said Rickhoff.

During a Commissioners Meeting earlier this month, Judge Nelson Wolff joked about approving the spending of almost half-a-million dollars for another sculpture.

The San Antonio Founder's Monument will go outside the Courthouse if the nonprofit behind it, the Canary Islands Descendants Association, can match the money being put forth by the county.

Wolff slapped Commissioner Paul Elizondo's hand multiple times as though he was waking Elizondo up to get his input.

Judge Wolff laughed and said commissioners needed to approve the funding deal while County Manager David Smith was out.

Judge Rickhoff said the decision making for spending is not funny.

Rickhoff said a guardianship program that helps people who can't make decisions due to physical or mental issues was not funded this year until he spoke up.

"After the budget closed they said, 'Oh we are not going to fund it, you'll have to do it yourself," said Rickhoff.

Bexar County spokesperson Monica Ramos disagreed.

"There was never any lapse of service or any stoppage of service. There was never any risk of losing services," said Ramos.

Ramos said fundamental services are being provided for taxpayers, and art is something commissioners feel needs to be included.

"It's important to remember where we came from, pay tribute, and be respectful of her heritage," said Ramos.

"If the pagans want a goddess, an idol, let them pay for it. If Nelson Wolff, the judge, wants one, he should pay for it or his family. If the Canary Islanders want one, they should pay for it," said Rickhoff.

County commissioners aren't done discussing the guardianship program.

They're set to consider a plan to fund the program for another six months during commissioners court on Tuesday.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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