Wichita County DA Asks for Budget Increase

Wichita County District Attorney, Maureen Shelton is asking county commissioners for about a $200,000 increase over her current $3 million annual budget, but is not asking for raises for staff.

County commissioners are conducting work sessions for their next budget, which goes in effect in October.

Shelton says the increase is mostly to deal with increased health insurance costs and costs of the Michael Morton Act that became law in Texas on January 1st.

That requires the prosecution to provide a copy of the entire file on a case to the defendant's attorneys.

Then, besides a vehicle for the drug enforcement division, Shelton's also asking for the ability to pay for outside counsel for death penalty cases. She says it's because of the approaching retirement after 30 years of assistant, John Brasher.

Brasher deals with appeal cases like serial killer, Faryion Wardrip's.

But, Shelton says given the economic conditions, she is not asking for pay raises this year.

"I don't think I can ask for this year. However, if the commissioners court were to give an across the board pay raise, I just ask my employees be included in that if that's what they chose to do. For example, the sheriff's office ask for a pay increase for his employees, his law enforcement. If that were to occur, I'd just ask my, the DA's investigator be included in that," Shelton said.

Commissioners will adopt the budget and set the tax rate in late summer. It's not known what, if any pay raises they might approve or if they can avoid a tax hike.

But, it appears some may feel there are even more restraints this year because of the water shortage, and also the defeat of the WFISD bond by taxpayers.

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