Welcome to all of the county judges and commissioners who have taken their oath of office for the first term in January. It is an exciting time when new officials come on board and join the county family. Most of you are a little nervous about your new tasks, but that is to be expected. It takes some time to just find the restroom, much less get your feet on solid ground!
There are several conferences you may attend where you can learn and participate in an exchange of information that will assist all of us in our positions. These conferences are presented by the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas and our regional and sub-regional associations; Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas; Texas Association of Counties; and V.G. Young Institute of County Government, Texas Cooperative Extension. If you need help, please contact me at 806-756-4391, and I will be happy to put you in touch with someone who can assist you with just about any problem.
I wish that I could look into a crystal ball and promise all of you that 2005 will be a year of roses and honey, but the type of year that we will have depends on just too many things for me to even consider a good country guess. As of the printing of this article, the 79th Session of the Texas Legislature has convened. Your Association has already begun work on issues of county interest through Jim Allison, our legal counsel, and the CJCAT Executive Board. I have written about some of the issues in previous articles concerning the possibility of appraisal caps, revenue caps, and unfunded mandates, all of which will wreak havoc on our county budgets while wrestling our citizens monies out of local control. These issues are being worked on every day with the Legislature, and many more will surface as the session progresses.
It is imperative that you keep in contact with your area legislators and contact your Association about any issues that will affect county government. Each of you needs to personally contact your legislators and have your citizens call them as well. I cannot over emphasize how important it is to our citizens to get these caps and unfunded mandates stopped now while they are being tossed around in the legislative sessions. These legislators will listen to the citizens who put them in office, if we let them know how strongly we feel about these issues. Make their telephones ring!
The site for the 2006 Annual Conference of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas will be in Addison. The officers viewed the facilities in November and were very pleased. This location will allow us to meet all of our conference needs. You are going to really enjoy the attractive, warm atmosphere with all functions being held under one roof, except golfing, of course! Mark your calendars and plan to be in Addison Sept. 18-21, 2006. And, of course, be planning to attend the 2005 Annual Conference Oct. 3-6 in Lubbock.
Van L. York, Association President