With April recognized as National County Government Month, I would like to take this opportunity to launch the first in a series of columns to help educate you about how county government works.
In Texas, county governments operate a bit differently than in other states. Denton County is one of 254 counties in the state and is the ninth largest in population.
We are also one of the fastest growing counties in Texas. As such, I believe it is important to provide information that can help you understand what we do and how it affects you.
This month’s column offers a broad overview of what counties do and how important county government is to your daily life.
Did you know that counties maintain and build 47 percent of Texas roads? That equates to more than 147,000 miles of county roads. We also work with the Texas Department of Transportation and other agencies to plan regional transportation.
Counties provide public safety and justice through the sheriff’s department, constables, county judges, justices of the peace, county and district attorneys and county clerks. Our sheriff’s department is on the front lines of public safety – patrols, crime prevention, arrests as well as operating county jails.
Our court system handles the prosecution of criminals and ensures justice is served, wills are probated, guardianships are handled and more.
Our elections administration oversees the majority of elections in Denton County, county each vote as well as training election judges, coordinating and staffing polling places and supplying voting equipment.
Our district and county clerk offices maintain official and permanent records for the county, the court system and all residents of Denton County. Examples include marriage licenses, birth certificates, property deeds, and voter registration and death certificates – to name a few.
The safety of all Denton County residents is important to us. We offer medical and mental health information, educate residents of potential health risks from the West Nile Virus to measles and assist indigent residents with health care and immunizations. We work daily to counter the problem of child maltreatment and educate parents.
We also provide services to more than 45,000 veterans in Denton County by helping them receive the assistance they deserve from municipal, state and federal programs as well as nonprofit organizations.
Our emergency services office coordinates with entities across the county to ensure your safety through education, training and responding to major incidents such as an ice storm or tornado touchdown. They work with local, state and federal officials on land management to limit wildfire dangers and more.
The tax assessor/collector division handles property taxes for all of Denton County and ensures each taxing entity receives their portions to fund operations. They also handle vehicle registrations.
With this brief overview, you can begin to see how county government touches many aspects of daily life. In the coming months, I will offer specific details about each department. I will also explain the roles of county commissioners and other elected officials so that you better understand your county government.
After all, we are here to serve you.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Ron Marchant, who has served as commissioner since 2007, is a lifelong resident of Carrollton where he served on the city council, worked as Precinct 6 Justice of the Peace and has been actively involved in a number of other civic organizations. He can be reached at 972-434-7140 or at Ronald.Marchant@dentoncounty.com.