A new $73 million budget was formally approved by Nueces County commissioners on Wednesday.
There are no budget cuts, funding will stay at or near the same level for the next year, and there's even a small cost of living increase for employees. That is just some of what was included in the new budget.
The 2012-2013 budget includes a 2-percent cost of living increase for employees, and a $150,000 discretionary fund for each member of the court; and with the approval of a tax rate that will bring in an additional $1.9 million in revenue, County commissioners are content with the budget.
The budget contained no funding for any new programs, and won't be providing additional funding for programs that have lost state or federal funding. It also imposed a 30-day hiring freeze on all vacant positions except for jail, juvenile detention and boot camp positions.
Now, when it comes to that $150,000 discretionary fund for each member of the court, Commissioner Oscar Ortiz said it is additional funding that will help bridge gaps for present projects.
"If the road department doesn't have any money, and we don't have any money, we can't just shut the door and go home," Ortiz said. "We need to have a little bit of money there available for contingency."
The new budget takes effect Oct. 1. All but Commissioner Joe Gonzalez voted for the budget. Gonzalez held out, saying he wanted a 2.5 to 3-percent raise for employees rather than the 2-percent.
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