Annual update: Collin County Commissioners

Meetings



The court meets at 1:30 p.m. every Monday.



Terms and compensation



Each commissioner and the county judge serve four year terms. The commissioners earn $95,228.51 annually and the county judge earns $140,029.05 annually.



Recordings



Meeting minutes and recordings can be found online at



www.co.collin.tx.us.



Big decisions made in 2014



  • TAPS bus services

The county implemented bus services through the Texoma Area Paratransit System for the elderly, disabled or low-income families. After contracting with TAPS, the bus routes expanded to area cities like McKinney, County Judge Keith Self said. Others in the county have also contracted with the transit system individually, including Frisco, which renewed its contract in 2014 for another year.



  • Mental health care advancements

The Commissioners Court advocated for an integrated health care system that would combine mental and physical care. The county's mental health system currently operates under NorthSTAR, a publicly funded behavioral health program. A transition to a new system would need to come out of the 2015 legislative session, Self said.



  • Housing grants

The county distributed $1 million in housing grants to four different charity organizations. The organizations provide housing for the homeless, abused women and others who need emergency shelter. Self said this was the best way to get the money back into the community immediately and provide housing.



  • Lowering the tax rate

The Commissioners approved a lower property tax rate and refinanced bonds to a lower interest rate in 2014. Lowering the tax rate to $0.2350 per $100 of property value makes 2015 the 22nd year the tax rate has not increased and the fifth time in eight years the rate decreased.



Top issues for 2015



  • Adding courts

The county is looking to add at least one district court and one county court at law, plus the associated infrastructure for the courts. A vote to approve those courts would likely take place at the end of 2015. Self said the majority of county employees work in the justice system, and the majority of the county budget goes toward the justice system.



  • Indigent defense model revision

The county will look to revise its indigent defense model, which provides financial and professional support to indigent residents accused of crimes, to be more efficient and effective. The county is required by state law to provide indigent defense services. The county spent more than $8 million in 2014 on indigent defense services. A decision on a new model will likely be made in the fall with the approval of the Fiscal Year 2015–16 county budget, Self said.



  • Transportation planning

The Commissioners Court plans to revise its county mobility plan by estimating where the population will be in 20 to 30 years and work backwards to plan for the major highways in the county. The current mobility plan does not look as far ahead in the future and doesn't account for the transportation needs once the county reaches build-out, Self said. The Commissioners Court began discussions to revise the plan in December and plans to work with the North Central Texas Council of Governments to make further revisions.