El Paso County, Texas, commissioners last week approved George K. Baum & Co. as the replacement for Coastal Securities as the county’s financial advisor in a 3-to-2 vote.

George K. Baum was selected over Estrada Hinojosa & Co. and First Southwest Co.

The selection was based on recommendations from an advisory committee of county staff and local financial professionals established by commissioners in January.

County Judge Veronica Escobar said all three firms scored high marks in the committee’s grading system.

Coastal Securities, whose contract will expire in August, will remain as the county’s financial advisor until negotiations with Baum are completed.

County officials said Coastal Securities did not seek a contract extension.

El Paso County’s $148 million of outstanding general obligation debt is rated double-A by all three major credit-rating agencies.

The far west Texas county, with 800,000 residents, has a tax base of $42 billion.

 The county includes El Paso, the sixth-largest city in the state, and Fort Bliss, which is expected to receive an additional 34,000 troops by 2013 as a result of military base realignment.

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