County approves $315M budget

A $57 million reduction from last fiscal year is the amount Hays County officials approved last month as they finalized the fiscal year 2019 budget.

In September, Hays County Commissioners unanimously approved a $315 million budget, which is $57 million less than what was approved in FY 2018.

Commissioners also gave the green light to a slight reduction in the county’s ad valorem tax rate. Hays County’s tax rate, which was 44.50 cents per $100 valuation, will now be 43.37 cents. Both the FY 2019 budget and tax rate went into effect Monday.

According to a release, the new tax rate set by commissioners is the effective tax rate, which is the tax rate that raises the same amount of property tax revenue from the last two fiscal years.

Included in the budget is roughly $950,000 for 22 new full-time positions and personnel changes, as well as $2 million for updating election equipment. No county officials will receive a salary increase except for three Hays County constables who won a grievance hearing case.

In August, a salary grievance committee approved a $6,238 raise for the Precinct 1, 3 and 4 constable positions. The county also budgeted a $1.7 million market analysis for law enforcement positions per the county’s existing collective bargaining agreement.

A three-percent merit pool for all employees except law enforcement is also part of the budget, which is to be allocated based on performance evaluations.

Officials also approved approximately $927,000 in matching funds for a new hardware and software package that will enhance the county’s 911 communications system, as well as $250,000 for new positions at the Hays County Jail.

Another item included in the FY 2019 budget is $5 million to be used to lower the county’s debt, which now stands at $441.6 million.

County officials also approved personnel and equipment for creation of a third County Court at Law office.

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