GATESVILLE — Coryell County commissioners met Monday to try to whittle down a $1.7 million budget deficit, but before cutting any spending, they agreed to create a county human resources position that could add up to $70,000 in spending.
The commissioners also heard complaints about county roads and a renewed pitch for another assistant district attorney to help ease jail crowding and a bloated court docket.
County Judge John Firth said projected general fund revenues for fiscal year 2014 are $11.7 million, while proposed general fund expenditures total about $13.4 million.
Firth targeted seven “big ticket” spending requests for the commissioners to consider cutting, including a $50,000 item earmarked for a human resource trainee on the county auditor’s staff.
After hearing a presentation from Diana Cecil, a human resources consultant with the Texas Association of Counties, the commissioners voted unanimously to add the position to next year’s budget.
Cecil said an HR manager could help the county with legal issues and liabilities and could improve the efficiency of getting employees into the system.
County Auditor Ben Roberts initially requested hiring a payroll clerk who would be trained in human resources.
After Cecil’s presentation, commissioners agreed the post should be filled by an experienced HR professional with a base salary up to $55,000, which with benefits could increase the slot to $70,000.
District Attorney Dusty Boyd pressed his $75,000 request for an additional prosecutor to help move more cases through the crowded criminal docket.
Earlier in the meeting, Al Castillo, the father of former District Attorney David Castillo — whom Boyd defeated in the Republican primary last year — appeared before the commissioners and took a swipe at Boyd’s budget request.
“Not to be political,” Castillo said without mentioning his relation to Boyd’s predecessor, “but I disagree with the additional personnel for the district attorney’s office.”
Castillo said the expansion is not necessary, adding that Boyd had campaigned on “reorganizing” the staff, not expanding it.
Boyd did not respond directly to Castillo, but County Attorney Brandon Belt had a sharp rebuttal.
“Not to be political, but if the previous DA had responded to more appeals, we might not need as much help,” Belt said, “Keep that in mind.”
Earlier this year, commissioners agreed to increase Boyd’s budget to contract with an outside law firm to handle a backlog of appeals cases left over from Castillo’s tenure.
“We are interested in prosecuting people, getting the jail cleared out,” Boyd said. “To do that, we need more resources. This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with work.