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Fort Bend County Commissioners Court has unanimously approved a new, almost $500 million budget for the 2023 fiscal year that will include new funding for law enforcement, including pay raises to keep pace with surrounding employers.

“The sheriff’s office had historically been challenged in getting competitive pay and benefits to personnel,” said Manuel Zamora, assistant chief deputy with the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. “As a result, we had vacancies; We are hoping that now the pay is competitive, we can attract the best and brightest.”

The 2023 budget will, among other measures, provide funding for all public safety employees to receive 4 percent raises at minimum, according to the county.

The commissioners court in a 5-0 vote approved a 2023 fiscal general budget that includes about $489 million, with about $10.8 million set aside for the drainage district, according to documents. The decision came at the same time that commissioners adopted a lower tax rate of about 43.83 cents per $100 of valuation, down from about 46.4 cents per $100 of valuation, according to county documents.

Despite lowering the tax rate, the budget is about 11 percent larger than the previous budget because of rising property values across Fort Bend County.

The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

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