Plans for possible Travis Co. budget cuts and their consequences drawn up

STARFlight rescuers help man who fell down cliff Saturday afternoon (Photo Courtesy: Austin-Travis County EMS)
STARFlight rescuers help man who fell down cliff Saturday afternoon (Photo Courtesy: Austin-Travis County EMS)

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Travis County commissioners are months away from adopting next year’s budget, but discussions have already begun. On Tuesday, commissioners are expected to approve budget guidelines.

Offices and departments are required to submit their budgets in May. If the guidelines are approved, departments will be asked to supplement their submission with proposed cuts, in the event that up to 5 percent of their target budget cannot be funded.

They’re also being asked to include what consequences the cuts could have, so county commissioners have the full picture when making decisions. This hasn’t happened since 2012.

Some county departments include the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, STAR Flight and Transportation and Natural Resources. Each year, departments typically push for a higher budget.

Over the phone, Budget Director Jessica Rio tells KXAN there is some financial uncertainty for the coming months, and they want departments to be prepared.

The county wants to be prepared for unexpected costs, like expenses related to DNA lab delays and unexpected decreases in state or federal grants.

Travis County Commissioners Court Voting Session Agenda Request
Travis County Commissioners Court Voting Session Agenda Request

 

Reduction proposals are not new. The county asked departments to do this back in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but not since then.

This year the county is also seeing record overtime costs for sheriff’s deputies, expected to add up to more than $8 million. Rio says while overtime costs in TCSO play a part in overall budget preparation, the overtime expenditures for FY 2017 did not factor directly in staff’s recommendation that the Commissioners Court request budget reductions proposals in preparation for the FY 2018 budget process.

If county commissioners do decide to make cuts, they won’t be across the board. Some departments may see a 5 percent cut, others 2 percent, or some no cuts.

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