county

Two months before the Wharton County Commissioners Court has its first budget workshop for the 2020 Fiscal Year, elected officials are trying to determine what to do with new budget expenditures totaling more than $600,000 million.

Whether it’s a dilemma is a matter of opinion, but one thing is certain, it was important enough for Wharton County Judge Phillip Spenrath to bring up during the last session.

“These are things you may not know that have to go in the budget; they have to be funded,” Spenrath said.

Among those is a weight station that will be relocated to the north part of the county for an estimated cost of $100,000, the restructuring of the 23rd District Court for around $200,000, three murder trials set up totaling a combined $300,000 and retirement plan through the Texas County & District Retirement System (TCRS).

The weight station would be in Precinct 1 and conversations with the Texas Department of Transportation, Spenrath and Precinct 1 Commissioner Richard Zahn have already taken place.

It’s not certain if the three murder trials would be taking place within the budget year. This is an amount that the county had prepared for going into Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

Regarding the TCRS retirement, Spenrath said the county has been notified that employee retirement has gone up from 14.2 to 15.14 percent.

The judge said he didn’t have an exact monetary figure, but it was prudent to include it in the discussion.

Among the other expenditures that were mentioned were 3 percent employee cost of living increase ($400,000 possible), health insurance, teleconferencing video equipment (justices of the peace/Wharton County Jail), patrol cars for the sheriff’s office, bridge contingency and the Precinct 4 barn under land negotiations.

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