Collin County’s proposed FY2019 Budget once again includes the effective tax rate. That means the dollar amount you pay in taxes to the county will remain about the same as it was last year.
This will be the seventh time during the last decade that our budget has included a tax rate at or below the effective rate.
At 1:30 PM today, the Commissioners Court will hold our final public hearing on next year’s budget. Following this hearing, we will approve the FY2019 budget.
Because salaries and benefits account for 40 percent of our operating costs, changes to compensation have an oversized impact on the annual budget.
For FY2019, the pay-for-performance (PFP) pool received a 3% increase, meaning that a high performer could receive as much as a 6% increase in pay, while lower performers might see less than 3%. Our highest performer in the county this year will receive a 5.36% salary increase.
Many judges and the Sheriff have chosen to apply a “step program”, giving a straight 3% to all their employees. However, under our PFP rules, employees who are at the top end of their pay range still get a one-time check for that raise.
Under a traditional step program, pay raises stop when you reach the top of the pay range. This hurts long-time or senior employees the most. For example, in the Sheriff’s Office 133 long-time employees will receive a one-time check under PFP rules that would not get that check under a step program.
At the Salary Grievance Committee meeting Monday evening, the committee recommended to the Commissioners Court that the Justices of the Peace receive a total 5% raise. That is 2% above the already budgeted 3% raise. The final decision rests with the Commissioners Court.
This is my last budget as your county judge. It has been an honor to serve for 12 years through the Great Recession and now through a period of strong growth.
All elected officials at the county level proudly support a conservative approach to your taxes. Still, some elected officials routinely ask the Commissioners Court to fund our budget in line with higher-tax counties and cities. I don’t expect that to diminish.
The struggle to keep your taxes low will continue. But as long as our future leadership remains dedicated to keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket, the future of Collin County is bright.