TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Travis County commissioners will be weighing out several options for potential county employee wage increases, heading into the next fiscal year.

Travis County is scheduled to adopt its fiscal year 2022-23 budget by Oct. 1. By Sept. 1, Travis County commissioners will approve a county employee compensation plan, as part of the timeline set by the county’s planning and budget office. With it, commissioners are considering three separate salary changes:

  • $18 an hour minimum wage plus a 5% across-the-board increase for county employees
  • $20 an hour minimum wage plus a 4% across-the-board increase for county employees
  • $20 an hour minimum wage plus a 5% across-the-board increase for county employees

Travis Gatlin, the county’s budget director, said he and his staff will also consider cost differentials between current and proposed wage options; the compression impacts related to each wage proposal; and options for cost-of-living adjustments for county retirees. For compression, that’s defined as minimal differences between employees and their supervisors or higher-ranking counterparts.

Gatlin said he will bring back all these cost scenarios on Aug. 30, with commissioners able to make a decision then or on the Sept. 1 deadline.

Gatlin said current estimates shows the county is well positioned to administer the $18 minimum salary increase and a 5% across-the-board raise for county employees. He and his staff still need to run the numbers on the other two options, paired with the additional funds needed for retiree cost adjustments, compression and differentials with current salaries.

Right now, Travis County has a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Gatlin said that, from an operational standpoint, a $20 minimum wage would make the county more competitive with recruiting new employees. From a budgetary standpoint though, he said more time with the numbers is needed to determine if a $20 hourly minimum wage is fiscally responsible.

“I’d hate to be at a disadvantage. If the city’s at $20 and we’re at $18 or $19, I would be concerned we’re at a competitive disadvantage and we’re having a hard time getting those same type of people over here,” Gatlin said. “From a budget perspective, it scares me. From an operational standpoint, I think that’s the way, given all the circumstances.”