Gonzales County receives grants to help pay deputy, prosecutor salaries


Gonzales County has received a pair of grants that will help pay salaries and other costs at the Gonzales County Attorney’s Office and the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office.

On Monday, April 8, the Gonzales County Commissioners’ Court accepted a $350,000 Rural Sheriff’s Office Salary Assistance Grant and a $175,000 Rural Prosecutor's Office Salary Assistance Grant from the Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s office.

The grants were established by the 88th Texas Legislature under Senate Bill 22 as a way to help provide financial assistance to sheriff’s offices, constables’ offices and prosecutor’s offices in counties with populations less than 300,000.

In order to accept the grant, the county had to certify it has not and will not reduce the amount of funds provided to these offices in their normal budget. In other words, the county cannot use the grant to pay for funds the county has already committed to pay in its budget.

GCSO can use the funds they received to to provide a minimum annual salary of at least $75,000 for the county sheriff; $45,000 for each deputy sheriff who performs motor vehicle stops in the routine performance of their duties; and $40,000 for each jailer whose duties include the safekeeping of prisoners and the security of a jail operated by the county.

If those conditions are already met, Sheriff Keith Schmidt can use the funds to increase the salary of one of those individuals; to hire additional deputies or staff for the sheriff's office; or to purchase vehicles, firearms, and safety equipment for the sheriff's office.

The County Attorneys’ Office must be used to increase the salary of an assistant attorney, an investigator, or a victim assistance coordinator employed at the prosecutor's office or to hire additional staff for the prosecutor’s office.

Recently, Hegar’s office delivered nearly $126 million in financial assistance to rural law enforcement and prosecutor offices to address the challenges faced by these groups in counties with small populations.

“About 500 rural law enforcement and prosecutor offices applied to our office for this critical grant money, which allows sheriffs, constables and district and county attorneys to raise salaries and, in some cases, make new hires,” Hegar said. “Bigger cities frequently have the financial capacity to offer enhanced incentives, while smaller law enforcement agencies typically must do the same work with considerably smaller budgets. These grants will help the entities that go above and beyond every day to ensure Texans in every corner of our great state feel safe and secure in their own neighborhoods and communities.”

The Legislature appropriated $330 million for the 2024-25 biennium to fund the grant program. The first-year application period saw 502 grant applications. 

"These brave men and women embody the grit, determination and spirit that built our state, and which are hallmarks of these rural communities," Hegar said. “As a sixth generation Texan who grew up farming land in a rural community that relied on law enforcement personnel to wear a lot of different hats, I understand the pressures that these folks feel. It is a privilege to be able to support them through this program, and I'm grateful to the Legislature for trusting me with this.”