Sheriff asks for more hires after county releases recommended budget

Williamson County

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Final negotiations can now proceed after the budget office shared its recommendations on the budget for fiscal year 2019 with the Commissioners Court Tuesday. 

Budget office officials recommended a general fund budget, which would pay for most of the county’s operations, of $185,246,572. That’s an increase of $11.7 million over last year, according to the county. This proposal would also pay for 15 full-time positions in several departments. 

Under this proposal, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office could hire seven new correctional officers, but no new patrol deputies. Sheriff Robert Chody spoke to the commissioners after they accepted the recommended budget.

He would like them to amend the budget so that his office can get 16 new patrol deputies and 10 new correctional officers. 

“They have a big decision to make,” Sheriff Chody said about the commissioners. “It costs money, and I’m not advocating for raising taxes or anything. I’m advocating that our people on the streets on patrol need help, and the community should have a concern with this because this will affect them.”

Chody’s presentation to the court Tuesday was the first time he’d interacted with County Judge Dan Gattis since the judge was charged with official oppression.

He allegedly threatened to “zero” out the sheriff’s budget if Chody did not stop tweeting about issues with staffing and response times. Gattis has not made any comment so far about the allegations. 

“The conversation was very mellow and exactly how it’s supposed to be,” Sheriff Chody said, “so it was a good presentation, I felt.”

The budget office also recommended a road and bridge budget of $36,726,935 as well as debt service fund of $107,366,640. 

County commissioners will next hold two voting sessions to possibly tinker with the budget on Aug. 16 and 21. They said the first session will primarily focus on the requests from the sheriff’s office. The commissioners will likely approve the final budget on Aug. 28. 

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