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The University Star


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Commissioners Court does not approve court reporter salary increase, discusses food insecurity

Star file photo

A motion to consider salary increases for the County Court at Law Court Reporters and amend the budget accordingly was not approved during the December 5 Hays County Commissioner’s Court meeting.

Hays County Human Resources Director Shari Miller is a part of the salary compensation committee that worked on a salary step plan to be implemented in February. According to Miller, the court reporters’ salaries would align with the step that has their years of certification.

“We have three court reporters with over 25 years of experience, and they like the consideration of the salary adjustments,” Miller said. “With the step plan, two of the Hays County Court of Law Court reporters’ salaries would be $123,405 and the other’s would be $127,107.”

According to Judge Chris Johnson, Hays County Court at Law No. 2, there are five openings with approximately a $30,000 higher salary than Hays County court reporters in Bexar County and Travis County.

“With a nationwide shortage, our ability to get court reporters is limited, and if they’re available, they’ll probably go somewhere else,” Johnson said. “It’s not just a hypothetical risk.”

Precinct 4 Commissioner Walt Smith said he wanted more time and to wait until January to make a decision. Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell expressed concerns about consistency across all salary plans.

“I think this plan is not fully cooked,” Shell said. “If we go through with this case of salary based on years of certification, then it should be considered what that means for all other cases.”

County Judge Ruben Becerra made a motion to approve the $109,000 salary for the court reporters beginning Feb. 1, 2024, saying he felt the court would be “disingenuous” to not make a decision. The motion was not seconded.

“I think waiting months to determine what, if any, changes will take place won’t bode well with the efforts of the judges and the judicial system,” Becerra said. “I feel that we are stringing the judicial system along.”

Tracy Ayrhart, vice president of strategic insights for The Central Texas Food Bank spoke on the importance of Hays County doing a needs assessment for food insecurity. According to Aryhart, approximately 40% of the Hays County population is food insecure, and 40% of that population doesn’t qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

All road action items (I1-I6) were approved, including approval to establish a No Dumping Zone on Marsh Lane and designing a roundabout in Kyle, Tx. These did have negating public comment from Dan Lyon who said on multiple occasions that the cost of each project was “excessive.”

The Hays County Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. on select Tuesdays each month. For more information, visit its website.

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