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Burnet County Sheriff’s Office burning through overtime early in fiscal year

Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd at Commissioners Court, Jan. 24, 2023

Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd explained the challenges he faces related to understaffing during the Burnet County Commissioners Court meeting on Jan. 24. The Sheriff’s Office is blowing through overtime budgets to make up for the lack of employees. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Burnet County Sheriff’s Office is almost over its overtime budgets, despite the county only being about a third of the way through the 2022-23 fiscal year. Sheriff Calvin Boyd addressed overage concerns during the Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Boyd told commissioners the overtime budget issue is nothing new; he’s faced the same problem each year since becoming sheriff in 2016. The main culprit, he said, is understaffing, which is due to a lack of enthusiasm for law enforcement jobs, competition with higher-paying departments, and positional transition within the BCSO.

“There’s only so much money to go around (in the county), and the Sheriff’s Office takes the biggest bite out of that, so I understand that,” he told after the Tuesday meeting. “But it’s frustrating for me to explain why we’re having overtime when I think it’s pretty obvious why we’re having overtime.”

As of Tuesday, Burnet County was 38 percent through the fiscal year, and only 9 percent — $4,747.98 out of $52,311 — of the Sheriff’s Office overtime budget remained. Under the BCSO umbrella are dispatchers and jailers, who are far beyond their allotted overtime budget. Dispatchers are at 122.62 percent of their budget, or $55,180.08 out of $45,000. Jailers are at 193.15 percent of their budget, or $57,945.44 out of $30,000.

Chief Deputy Alan Trevino told that the Sheriff’s Office is currently down four patrol deputies and will be down another two by the end of January. Another six deputies are in training, meaning they are unable to cover shifts on their own for about three months. The Burnet County Jail is down 13 jailers, but dispatchers are in relatively good shape, only being down two with remaining staff having fully completed their training.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t want to be police officers anymore,” Boyd told “For the folks that do want to be police officers, we’re competing for them with much larger agencies that pay a lot more than we do.”

Boyd noted that nearby agencies in Cedar Park and Leander and an array of departments in Williamson County routinely pay deputies at least $10,000 more per year than Burnet County can afford. Starting annual pay for BCSO deputies is $68,805.90. Ambitious and skilled officers are often drawn away to higher-paying departments with more opportunities, the sheriff said.

Burnet County Judge James Oakley was sympathetic to Boyd’s position as sheriff but said he and the other Commissioners Court members are responsible for being prudent with the county’s money.

“It’s just like the sheriff said, (law enforcement) is not a career choice for folks any more,” Oakley told “But we’re running pretty lean, and when we see expenditures going over budgeted amounts, it raises red flags.”

Law enforcement must be paid for overtime work, regardless of an organization’s overtime policy, per the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act.

For now, the county has no clear path to rein in overtime expenditures short of filling as many vacant positions as possible, but commissioners say they are working with the Sheriff’s Office and County Auditor Karin Smith to find creative solutions.