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KCSO and Kerr County Commissioners discuss money during Monday’s budget workshop

todayApril 3, 2023

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During a Monday morning budget workshop, Kerr County commissioners were presented with what one commissioner described as a ‘wishlist’ from the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office. Precinct 1 Commissioner Harley Belew referenced the recent move of having the Texas Department of Public Safety increase their presence in Austin following the city’s police department struggles with officer vacancies and long response times to emergency calls. Belew said he never wants to see Kerr County experience these types of problems. Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha said, “luckily Kerr County is not Austin or Travis County.”

With KCSO preparing for the summer months, which is typically the department’s busiest season of the year, Leitha told commissioners that his focus remains on future recruiting, retaining staff and future pay. The court was informed that KCSO has been attempting to fill a couple of deputy positions for roughly nine months. After mentioning dollars and cents, Leitha also addressed how the overall culture seen in law enforcement has changed over the years. Besides the necessity of continuing to recruit high-caliber candidates to Kerr County, the Sheriff also stressed the importance of remaining loyal to those already employed by the county.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Jonathon Letz initiated a conversation which strictly centered on possible options the court may have to enable KCSO the capability of offering more money to deputies and first responders, including an increase in base pay, overtime pay and pay scales for ‘transfer positions.’ The court also asked to receive hard numbers regarding current salaries being offered in surrounding areas to their potential candidates. The commissioners court and Leitha announced upon the conclusion of Monday’s workshop that all of these issues will be addressed in an upcoming executive session.

Leitha concluded his presentation by reiterating how proud he is of all of his employees. KCSO recently made headlines following a March 2nd multi-agency operation which was based in Kerr County and resulted in the seizure of roughly $8 million in street drugs. Leitha released a statement at the time saying, “The effects of this operation will be felt throughout the entire state. We will continue to raise the goals for our continuing work as even more assets and resources become available to us.”


Written by: Michelle Layton

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