Bexar County Commissioners Court on Sept. 12 approved a $2.96 billion budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year that includes increased pay for staff and more funding for law enforcement.

The background

The new budget, which becomes effective Oct. 1, contains a 3.5% salary increase for most county employees based on findings of a market study conducted earlier this year. Employees not covered by the collective bargaining agreement will receive an increase for each year they have been in their current positions, county officials said.

Additionally, a new performance pay program, through a performance appraisal process, could result in a maximum 5% salary hike for employees.

A step pay plan will be developed for non-exempt employees, who with satisfactory performance appraisals could move to the next step in the pay plan on an annual basis. Based on this model, county officials said employees could get an average 3% pay raise between each step.

Dig deeper

The county is spending $3.02 million to create 50 law enforcement positions, with 36 of them being law enforcement patrol deputies. Sixteen additional deputy constable positions at a cost of $2.35 million—four for each of the four county precincts—have been created, too, with two of the four positions designed to enforce traffic laws and school zones.

Elsewhere in the budget, commissioners approved $88.3 million to start or continue 55 capital improvement projects, including $10 million to help fund upgrades for the Defense Health Agency, which supports local U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force medical services. Other capital project funds will direct $3 million for a new county park in Precinct 1 off Talley Road, $4.5 million for a new Precinct 2 satellite office and money to enhance flood control improvements in suburban cities.

The new budget includes $632.8 million for general fund operations, higher than the $568.8 million general fund budget approved for FY 2022-23. The new budget will be supported by the county maintaining its property tax rate of $0.29 per $100 valuation.

What they’re saying

Pct. 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert abstained from voting on the new budget, saying he could not consciously support a document that precludes several spending proposals he said would have helped his constituents in different ways.

Calvert criticized County Manager David Smith’s decision earlier in the budget process to cap infrastructure funding requests at $10.5 million per precinct.

“I am disappointed on many levels,” Calvert said at the meeting.

County Judge Peter Sakai praised the commissioners’ decision to include in the budget funds to hire 50 new sheriff’s office deputies.

“The court continues to show its support for law enforcement. We are committed to ensuring the safety of all Bexar County residents,” Sakai said in a statement.

What’s next

Sakai said he is inviting community members to attend one of his four planned "Community Conversations” to learn more about the budget and county services. Each meeting lasts 5:30-8 p.m. For details, call 210-335-3019:

  • Sept. 19 at Davis-Scott YMCA, 1213 Iowa St., San Antonio
  • Sept. 26 at Will Jackson Community Hall, 758 Donaldson Ave., San Antonio
  • Sept. 28 at SAMSTA David Monroe Education Center, 5035 SW 36th St., San Antonio
  • Oct. 4 at University of Texas at San Antonio Park West Fieldhouse, 8000 N. Loop 1604, San Antonio