Sadly, most people pay less attention to county government than city government (and they generally pay very little attention to the latter!) A few people know that a County Commissioner is a member of the Commissioner’s Court, presided over by the County Judge, and that it has something to do with county government. But most people couldn’t tell you exactly what a Commissioner does, and it’s probable that more than a few people are confused that the “Court” isn’t a Court of Law.
The Commissioner’s Court is the overall governing body of the county. According to the Texas Association of Counties, the Commissioner’s Court:
- Adopts the county’s budget and tax rate
- Approves all budgeted purchases by the county
- Fills vacancies in elective and appointed offices in the county
- Sets all salaries and benefits
- Has exclusive authority to authorize contracts
- Provides and maintains all county buildings and facilities
The court also has broad oversight over all aspects of county government including:
- Maintenance of county roads and bridges
- Funding all county departments including the county jail
- Is the ultimate authority for overseeing elections, including appointing an Elections Administrator and election judges, redistricting electoral precinct boundaries, and setting boundaries for County Commissioner, Constable, and Justice of the Peace precincts, and voter registration
- Providing for emergency management
- Providing health and safety services
- Collecting property taxes
- Governance of and providing services to unincorporated areas of the county
- Issuing vehicle registrations and transfers
A County Commissioner is intended to be a full time position with a professional level salary. Service as a City Council member, mayor, or similar level manager in private industry (with familiarity with local government issues) is useful experience for potential future Commissioners.
The county is divided into four County Commissioner Precincts as noted in the map. Precinct 1 in the northwest part of the county, and Precinct 3 in the northeast part of the county will be on the ballot in 2020. If this position interests you, or you know a Democrat who might be a good fit, please contact us.
— Mike Rawlins, County Chair