The raises would include a 4 percent “market” raise and a 3 percent “merit” raise, according to county administrator G.K. Maenius.
Supporting the increases, Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks (D-Pct. 1) noted that “so many employees are tied to our salary that if we don’t get a raise, they don’t get a raise.”
He proposed that the commissioners and elected officials take the full allowance “so that those who are tied to us get the full benefit of an increase in salary.”
Other county employees are also expected to receive a 7 percent salary increase after the budget is passed on September 13.
The Texas Local Government Code allows a county officer to donate all or a portion of his salary back to the county in lieu of accepting a pay increase.
The county is required to post a notice of certain elected officials’ salaries at least 10 days before the official vote is taken.
If passed, the county judge’s salary would increase from $198,475.94 in FY 2022 to $212,369.26 in FY 2023. The county judge also receives at least $15,420 in an auto allowance each year bringing the total to over $227,000 annually.
According to a Texas Association of Counties 2022 Salary Survey, Tarrant County has the highest county judge salary for counties with over 100,000 people. Harris County is second with its county judge, Lina Hidalgo, making $190,861 per year. Dallas County salaries were not included in the survey.
Tarrant County commissioners’ salaries are also the highest in the state according to the survey at $188,476 in FY 2022.
By comparison, Gov. Greg Abbott’s salary for FY 2022 was unchanged by the legislature and remained at $153,750.
County Judge Glen Whitley is retiring this year, having served in the position since 2007.
Republican candidate for county judge Tim O’Hare told The Texan, “With the economy in trouble and inflation at record highs, the last thing we should be doing is increasing the pay of elected officials. We should be returning money to taxpayers, not taking more of it.”
O’Hare added that he will never vote for a budget that increases his salary if he is elected.
The commissioners court also plans to keep the same tax rate as last year, $0.229 per $100 valuation, two cents above the no-new revenue rate.
The county’s overall budget is increasing by almost $62 million or 12.4 percent. Of the increase, $11.2 million comes from new properties added to the tax rolls.
Democratic candidate for county judge Deborah Peoples did not reply to a request for comment before time of publication.
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Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.