Lina hidalgo salary

Ramsey and Cagle each presented alternative budget proposals last week to fully meet requests made by the county sheriff, constables and district attorney, including funding for 1,019 new employees. Ramsey said his plan would have also allowed for an additional 500 law enforcement positions.

However, their plans would have also made significant cuts to other county departments, which would have ultimately resulted in an estimated loss of over 1,100 county jobs, according to an analysis by the Harris County Office of Management and Budget.

An additional analysis by the county’s health department shows that a 50 percent reduction to the department proposed under Cagle’s plan would “seriously jeopardize the important public health work being done in the county,” including eliminating services for tuberculosis screening treatment and contact tracing, chronic disease prevention and outreach, childhood immunizations and animal cruelty investigations.

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“To have such a substantial cut to our programming, many of those services would come to an end,” said Barbie Robinson, executive director of Harris County Public Health, to commissioners during the budget discussion.

Ramsey submitted an updated proposal Monday evening that would restore the full library budget. However, Berry said the plan would still cost 465 county jobs.

County judge Lina Hidalgo said the adopted budget would address a reported increase in crime in the region, emphasizing that $1.4 billion goes toward justice and safety. “Seventy percent of increases in this proposed budget go toward public safety and justice,” she said, adding it includes 400 vehicles for sheriffs and constables and 35 more positions in the sheriff’s criminal investigations bureau.

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In contrast, Cagle and Ramsey’s plans could not be considered serious proposals given their impacts, Hidalgo said. “To me it sounds dystopian,” she said. Hidalgo called out the “slash and burn” proposals in a tweet prior to the vote.

Commissioner Adrian Garcia moved to amend the proposed budget to further boost law enforcement, calling it an “accounting approach” during proceedings. “Versus the recommendations that would be disruptive oriented, this is budget neutral,” Garcia said. “The difference is on what this has on our available, unspent bonds and what the schedule for going back to the voters for that will be.”

Still, Ramsey reiterated that the budget doesn’t meet all the requests made by law enforcement. “No amount of talking or amendments is going to escape the fact that we’re not doing that,” Ramsey said, adding that meeting those requests without cutting from any other budgets is “ridiculous.”

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Ramsey also took issue with borrowing money from projects that have yet to commence to fund such salary increases. “This is pretty typical of what I’ve seen working with engineers, working with counties and cities for over 40 years, is when we have a budget problem we’re going to start cutting infrastructure,” he said. “That’s why we get down the road and there’s not money to do infrastructure.”

Ramsey added that he did not expect the majority of the court to back his and Cagle’s proposals. “I do want to commend that in this process we’ve had some good discussion and I think my proposal at least showed that we could do it without raising taxes,” he said. “It’s about tightening and gut wrenching when you do that, but we can get everything that law enforcement asked for.”

“Getting into the business of borrowing money to pay for salaries… that is a process that’s a very difficult one to climb back from and can have long-term difficult complications,” Cagle added.

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