San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

STAFF REPORT

Hays County officials hope to tap federal economic stimulus dollars to fund 12 new deputies for the sheriff’s office.

Hays County Sheriff Tommy Ratliff is applying for a total of more than $2.3 million in grants to pay for the salaries of patrol, transportation and warrant officers from programs enacted with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The grants are administered by the U.S. Justice department.

“As a fast-growing county, we know we’re going to need more officers in the future. This is a way we can do it that will save the taxpayers some money,” Ratliff told the commissioners court, which approved the application 5-0 on Tuesday.

In an interview after the meeting, he said the state average for local law enforcement officers to residents is 1.9 to 1,000. Excluding the populations of San Marcos and Kyle, which have their own police forces, Hays County is 35-40 officers short of that threshold, Ratliff said.

Although not a matching grant, the county will have to equip and clothe the officers, and cover the sheriff’s office’s standard 4 percent annual step increases, all of which is expected to total about $570,000. The county is also on the hook for retaining the added positions for the first year following the grant’s three-year term, which amounts to $851,852, according to Ratliff’s calculations.

In other law-enforcement related action on Tuesday, the commissioners court certified the Hays County Law Enforcement Association, a local chapter of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, as the representative of rank-and-file officers under collective bargaining approved by voters in November.

The court also authorized a new sergeant position, whose $36,000 starting salary will be absorbed in the sheriff’s office’s budget for the current fiscal year.

— BRAD ROLLINS

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5 thoughts on “County seeks 12 deputies from stimulus program

  1. Which taxpayers are they going to save money for? Is this an April fools joke or something? Where does Ratliff think this money comes from? Maybe he should be Sheriff in Zimbabwe!

  2. Is Hays County going to provide more “golf carts” to the constables for their personal hunting trips with the Stimulus Money. What is the difference between using Hays County property for personal pleasure and the BIG bankers taking the money and giving it out to themselves as bonuses or using private jets for pesonal pleasure trips. Hays County Constables need to be accountable for their actions. Hays County citizens need the money for jobs. I’d like to know if the constables are paying taxes for the use of the county’s equipment.

  3. Mrs Brown,
    Just to inform you that Golfcart belongs to me, not the County. I used it for off duty jobs in the heat and every dime put in it was out of my pocket.

  4. Ms. Brown,
    First of all the comment you made about the Constable’s had NOTHING to do with the article above. So there for, I do not understand why you would make that comment. Second of all, there is one Deputy Constable that does have a “golf cart” but it is his own personal golf cart that he bought and paid for with his own money. And out of the kindness of his heart he has allowed the county and other officers to use it for special events and functions. So before you go making ridiculous comments, please make sure you have your facts straight. ALL the Hays County Constable’s and their Deputies work very hard for this county and are always putting in over and above to serve the citizens of Hays County.

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