Learn and understand the responsibilities of a County Commissioner and what Commissioners Court is.
Welcome to Precinct 2’s Government 101 blog series! Every month we will be breaking down government jargon, duties, and more so that you, too, can stay in the know. In today’s subject, we will discuss what many people wonder about: What is Commissioners Court? Who participates in this court? Can anyone go to this? Knowing who your County Commissioner is and what happens in a Commissioners Court; is vital information that pertains to you as a Harris County constituent.
So, let’s get down to business!
What is Commissioners Court?
According to the Texas Constitution established in 1876, it is the governing body of each of the 254 Texas counties. The court consists of five members: four county commissioners and one county judge. In addition to a sixth official, county clerk, forms as an ex officio member of the court. Their roles combine elements of judicial, legislative, and executive functions.
What are their responsibilities?
Each of the four county commissioners represents a certain area of the county, also known as a precinct. Aside from serving as voting members of the court, county commissioners are responsible for overseeing the maintenance in county roads, bridges and parks, and other services within their precinct.
That being said, the commissioners court is in charge of the following:
- Adopting and approving the county’s budget
- Setting tax rates
- Filling vacancies and appointing officials
- Maintaining buildings, roads, and parks
- Constructing roads and bridges that are not part of the state highway system
- Settling salaries, expenses, and allowances for appointed officials
- Issuing bonds
- Overseeing courthouses, jails, and libraries
Who’s on the Commissioners Court?
Harris County Judge, Lina Hidalgo; Precinct 1, Rodney Ellis; Precinct 2, Adrian Garcia; Precinct 3, Steve Radack; Precinct 4, R. Jack Cagle. (See image below)
Who is my County Commissioner?
To find out who your Commissioner is, you must locate your Precinct first. What is a “precinct” you may ask? A precinct is the voting boundary located within Harris County. However, these precincts are not to be confused with the eight precincts controlled by constable offices. To locate your Precinct, visit www.harriscountytx.gov. Here you will be able to view a map of all four Precincts in Harris County and learn more about your County Commissioner.
How long do commissioners serve?
The commissioners are elected to staggered, four-year terms, with two taking office every other year, and are elected by the votes of the precinct they represent.
Can anyone go to Commissioner Court?
Yes, Commissioners Court meetings are open to the public. There is an option of viewing these meetings live from your mobile device and computer, if you are unable to attend the meetings. To learn more, visit agenda.harriscountytx.gov/, where you can also view meeting schedules, sign up to get notified on the new agenda, and search the agenda archive.
Where are Commissioners Court meetings held at?
Commissioners Court meetings are held at 1001 Preston Street, Suite 934, Houston, TX 77002 (unless noted otherwise).
Courtesy: Kevin Fujii, Houston Chronicle