What is the County Commissioners Court?

What is the County Commissioners Court?

And what do commissioners do, anyway?

Every county in Texas is divided into four precincts, each with approximately the same population amount. Each precinct has one elected commissioner to represent it in the County Commissioners Court, which serves as the policy-making and administrative body for the county.

The County Commissioners Court is primarily responsible for*:

  • Setting Tax Rates (e.g. for property and sales) and Fees for county services;
  • Establishing Commissioner and Justice of the Peace precinct boundaries;
  • Acquiring property for rights-of-way or other uses determined to be in the public's best interests;
  • Reviewing and approving subdivision platts and wastewater treatment for rural areas;
  • Adopting a county budget;
  • Exclusive authorizing of county contracts;
  • Providing and maintaining all county buildings and facilities;
  • Appointing all county department heads, other than offices headed by elected officials; and
  • Making all other personnel decisions other than those who are elected or appointed by the judiciary or other committees.

In addition to budgetary and policy-making concerns, commissioners can (and should) be advocates for their constituents, communicating with state legislators and serving as the precinct's voice on public policy decisions. This is particularly important when it comes to state policies that dictate unfunded mandates, revenue caps, budgetary matters, public debt and other issues that directly impact county management.

Commissioners can become advocates by meeting regularly with state representatives, holding Town Halls with constituents, and being an active member of the Texas Association of Counties' (TAC) Core Legislative Group.


*not a comprehensive list

Sources: Various, primarily TAC, GuadCo website, various county websites

Last Edited: Feb 1, 2018


Posted on 15 Sep 2017, 11:28 - Category: Government Transparency

Pol. adv. paid for and approved by Rebecca Tucker.
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