Good morning Water Users Coalition,
Please, consider taking a moment to read the following communication received from Harris County Commissioner Ramsey’s office concerning the Contract Deputy Program. We wanted to help get this information out as soon as possible, to give everyone an opportunity to get involved and learn more about what is going on with this matter. Thank you for your service to our communities.
During the November 14, 2023 Commissioners Court Meeting, the Harris County Budget Office suggested changes to contract patrol deputies, which may impact your neighborhood’s patrol. You can view the discussion here.
Here’s a summary of the Budget Office’s proposed changes discussed at the November 14th Court (subject to change in future meetings):
- A rate increase from $116,400 to $132,200 per Harris County Contract Patrol Deputy, a 14% increase from the current fiscal year. They estimated that this increase would generate the County $14.2M more in revenue.
- Eliminating the county from covering a portion of the costs for adding any new contract deputies, even if you’re an existing customer.
NOTE: Of the current 1,201 contract deputies, only 11% of them are fully funded by the customers. The remaining 89% of contracts receive County assistance (approximately 20-30% of the cost). This means 100% fully funded contracts are either not desirable or unattainable to many neighborhoods.
Commissioner Ramsey’s concerns over these proposed changes:
- This increased cost would be used to generate more revenue for the County and allow the court majority to use it at their discretion, which wouldn’t necessarily be on law enforcement.
- These big hikes in a short period of time are more likely to price neighborhoods out and reduce the size of the contract deputy program, especially in our uncertain economic times.
- Discontinuing the county’s ability to cover a portion of the contracts is likely the first step on a slippery slope of making all deputies 100% funded by the customer, especially since these contracts are renewed on an annual basis.
No action was taken on this item; however, it was mentioned to appear back on the December 5, 2023 meeting for a vote.
If this is a concern for you and your neighborhood, please sign up to speak in-person at the next Commissioners Court (December 5th) here: https://appearancerequest.harriscountytx.gov/. You must register on or before 9 AM on Tuesday, December 5th. List the subject matter as “Contract Deputy Program.”
Thank you in advance for making your voice heard.
Landon B. Reed