The addition of 50 law enforcement positions and pay hikes for county employees are the centerpiece of Bexar County’s proposed fiscal year 2023-24 budget, county officials said.

What happened

Bexar County commissioners got a preview Aug. 22 of the full proposed $2.9 billion budget, which allocates $3 million to support 50 new law enforcement positions, 36 of which are patrol deputies. County officials said more patrol deputies are needed for increasing populations in unincorporated parts of Bexar County.

The budget also proposed $2.35 million to add 16 deputy constable positions—four in each of the county’s four precincts; two positions in each county will enforce traffic laws and help to protect schools.

Dig deeper

County officials said the proposed budget will include an average 3.5% pay raise for most employees. Employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement will receive an increase for each year they have been in their current positions.

Additionally, a new performance pay program will be introduced, as the county’s human resources department will work with offices and departments to implement this program. County officials said employees may receive up to a 5% salary hike in FY 2024-25.

For nonexempt employees, a step pay plan will be developed for implementation during this same time period. Here, employees with satisfactory employee appraisals will move to the next step in the pay plan on an annual basis. County officials said, under the proposal, 2,323 employees would get an average of a 3% pay increase between each step as a result.

The proposed budget also contains $50 million to continue or begin 55 capital projects, including flood control improvements in suburban cities.

County officials proposed keeping the county property tax rate at $0.299 per $100 valuation.

What they’re saying

County Manager David Smith said the FY 2023-24 proposed budget balances the needs of the community while helping county government prepare for the future.

“It provides for safer neighborhoods, community spaces for our residents and strengthens our county workforce,” he said.

What’s next

County staff and commissioners will continue with budget work sessions, as needed; such sessions are tentatively scheduled for Aug. 29 and 31, and Sept. 6 and 11 at the county courthouse.

Commissioners are slated to adopt the budget Sept. 12.