The Travis County Commissioners Court voted to raise the base salaries of some elected officials—including their own—by 3.5 percent during the Aug. 7 meeting.
The motion passed 3–1. Commissioner Karen Huber opposed and Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt abstained. Both said they plan to ask the county auditor’s office not to increase their salaries.
The county had conducted a market survey and compared the salaries of elected officials who are not under a state-mandated salary cap against those same positions in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Williamson counties.
The study found that among the reviewed positions, the average Travis County salary was 7.83 percent under the market value.
According to background documents, the current county commissioner salary is $92,362, while the market rate is $119,004.
The county judge's salary is $111,038, while the market rate is $135,479.
Other positions measured included constables, county clerk, county attorney, county treasurer, sheriff and justice of the peace.
Not all salaries were below market. The Precinct 5 constable ($90,137/$88,468), the county attorney ($154,526/$149,884) and the justice of the peace ($105,000/$94,404) were above market value.
The county's Human Resources Management Department recommended the 3.5 percent increase.
During citizens communication, resident Gus Peña said that right now is not the time to be voting for a pay raise.
Eckhardt made a motion to give a 3.5 percent raise to elected officials whose salaries were more than 10 percent off from the market value. Eckhardt's motion died for lack of a second.
County Judge Samuel T. Biscoe said that citizens had taken issue with the commissioners voting on their own salaries, but that is how the law is written. He said the task, and questions about it, are a part of the job.
Commissioner Margaret Gomez said that employees will likely put the 3.5 percent raise back into the community in the forms of buying groceries, paying rent and utilities and other expenses.