A pay adjustment in government salaries is hardly something out of the ordinary. But county commissioners in Rockwall County are turning heads, having just approved massive pay raises for themselves.
David Sweet, the county judge who presides over the commissioners court, will be receiving a 24 percent raise, from $97,209 to $121,000. Other county commissioners will also be receiving a raise of 23 percent, up from $77,766 to $96,000, despite already being in the top tier of pay for similarly sized counties, according to data from the Texas Association of Counties.
While Commissioners David Magness, Lee Gilbert, and Dennis Bailey all voted with Sweet for the pay raise, only Commissioner Cliff Sevier voted against it.
Meanwhile, residents of Rockwall County are going to be shouldering the burden of these pay increases. Although county commissioners are indeed “lowering” the property tax rate this year, rising home values mean the decrease will not meet the “effective rate” or “no-new-revenue rate.”
That means property tax bills will continue to go up for Rockwall taxpayers.
After finding out about the move, citizens have begun to mobilize, with one online petition garnering over 700 signatures at the time of publication.
“We have watched for a generation as our publicly elected officials vote themselves raises, give themselves better healthcare, and exempt themselves from many of the laws the rest of us must follow or be punished,” the petition reads.
“This raise is excessive and unwarranted,” said one signatory. “Citizens were not given enough notice or options to speak up at public meetings held at times when most who work could attend and voice objections.”
Another said they did attend a public hearing but, “unfortunately, they did not listen to me or the other citizens. I hope this petition will help undo the damage done by the elected officials. I’m appalled by their brazen entitlement and greed.”
The Rockwall County Commissioners Court is scheduled to hold their next meeting on Tuesday, October 15, at 9 a.m.