The Parker County commissioners are continuing to meet discuss the budget and held a second public hearing this week with plans to hold one more before final adoption.
No one from the public spoke at the second public hearing.
“Even in our [first] public hearing, it wasn’t the attendance we expected. This is really statewide where [counties] just haven’t had a lot of participation on the budget, so we can try to set up another and try to get more people coming as we close out and adopt our budget,” County Judge Pat Deen said. “We want this room full of people, we want their input and to make sure they’re involved in what we’re doing.”
A tax rate of $0.373 has been proposed for adoption and exceeds the effective rate of $0.342. Last year’s tax rate was $0.383.
During the budget discussions, the commissioners approved a 3 percent pay increase for all elected officials that would come from the scenario County Employee Benefits Coordinator Becky McCullough presented at the end of August. McCullough said they could lower the county contributions amount into the insurance escrow fund balance because there’s already money sitting in there. Lowering the contribution by 12.5 percent would amount to about $900,000 that can be used for employee and elected official raises.
“All elected positions are benefits-eligible positions, so with that scenario I presented, the insurance adjustment would cover the 3 percent for elected officials as well. There’s enough money to do all of it,” McCullough said. “There is one elected official salary that we got some legislation on that the state is passing down a salary increase that would affect one of our [County Court at Law] judges. Basically, it’s just giving him credit for longevity and that’s something that we’re being required to pick up.”
McCullough said the total for elected officials would be about $60,000 and about $15,000 for the commissioners.
For additional employee requests, McCullough said there was a request for court bailiffs to be included in the sheriff’s step in grade that was approved last year.
“I think there was some confusion that maybe they should have been included in that last year and it was not. That step in grade that y’all approved last year is still in play, so they’re just asking for their rates for the bailiffs to fall into [the sheriff’s] step in grade,” McCullough said. “It would be about $7,800 total more on top of what you’ve already approved. One court bailiff has been there about 15 years and so that’s the one that would see the biggest increase and the other three have been there anywhere from three to five years, so their increases would be about $1,000 each.”
In the capital projects, the commissioners approved $293,000 to continue forward in the process with the courthouse chiller and $150,000 for phases three through nine for the new East Parker County Annex.
For more details on the county budget, visit parkercountytx.com.