Jefferson County, Texas
Commissioner Precinct 1

Commissioner
Eddie Arnold

Jefferson County, Texas
Commissioner Precinct 1

Commissioner
Eddie Arnold


IMPORTANT WATER INFO DUE TO HURRICANE HARVEY

- Disinfecting your private well
- How to test your well water

Duties of Texas County Commissioner

Function of Office according to the Texas Government Code-
Duties of County Commissioner:

The county commissioner’s court serves as the governing body in each of Texas’ 254 counties. This administrative body was established by the Texas Constitution of 1876 and is comprised of a county judge and four commissioners. The major duties of the commissioner’s court involve overseeing the budgetary and policy making functions of county government. In addition, in many counties, commissioners have extensive responsibilities related to the building and maintenance of county roads.

Each county in Texas is divided into four commissioner’s precincts with one commissioner being directly elected by the voters of each precinct to a four year term. Commissioners are elected on staggered terms with two precincts voting for the office of commissioner in each general election. Precincts two and four of every county elect commissioner the same year the Texas gubernatorial election takes place while precincts one and three elect their commissioners in presidential election years. To be eligible to run for a county commissioner seat, an individual must be a qualified voter, a resident of that precinct and have never been convicted of a felony.

As the commissioner’s court meets to fulfill its budgetary and administrative responsibilities, each commissioner, along with the county judge, participates in all the decisions and work of the court. Passing a county budget is a major undertaking for the commissioner’s court. During the budget process, commissioners approve the employment level of the county and consider the level of funding necessary for the other county offices to carry out their duties and responsibilities. In addition to approving the county budget, commissioner’s courts have other financial responsibilities. The commissioner’s court sets the county’s property tax rate and has the authority to grant tax abatements for economic development and authorize contracts in the name of the county.

Beyond their budget duties, commissioners have the responsibility of providing oversight of the county’s infrastructure. They are responsible for overseeing the construction, maintenance and improvement of county roads and bridges, establishing long-range thoroughfare, open space, and land use plans, and acquiring property for rights-of-way or other uses determined to be in the public's best interest. Commissioners each serve as the road and bridge administrator in their precinct. Other responsibilities include reviewing and approving subdivision platting and wastewater treatment for rural areas. Some commissioners are also responsible for providing rural ambulance services and subsidizing rural fire protection.

Additional personnel and operating responsibilities fall under the job duties of a county commissioner. Some of these duties include financial and law enforcement/jail needs planning, establishing commissioners and justice of the peace precinct boundaries, and setting employment and benefit policies for the county. Commissioners court may also call, conduct and certify elections, including bond elections, and appoint non-elected department heads and standing committees.

Finally, as a member of the commissioner’s court, a county commissioner may be called upon to fill vacancies in elective and appointive positions in the county and supervise and control the county courthouse, county buildings and other county facilities.

In order to stay up to date on the latest changes in state law affecting the operation of counties and to acquire improved management techniques and skills related to infrastructure maintenance, commissioners are required to earn sixteen classroom hours of continuing education annually related to the performance of their duties. Continuing education credits must be certified by an accredited public institution of higher education and commissioners may carry over up to eight hours of continuing education credit into the next year.

County commissioners have a broad range of duties. From their positions on the county’s policymaking body to their responsibility for maintaining county roads and bridges, county commissioners are very visible representatives in county government.


Information provided by: Texas Counties 4U
One of the most important governing bodies of the county is the Commissioners Court.  The county judge presides over the meetings of the Commissioner Court and sees that the meetings are carried on in an orderly manner.  Each County Commissioner and the County Judge are allowed one vote on issues allowed by state statues.  The Commissioners Court is not a judicial court, but is an administrative body for conducting county affairs.  The law requires the Commissioners Court to meet at least once each month.  Jefferson County Commissioners Court meets every Monday at 1:30 p.m. and is open to the public.  The court can meet in special session at any time it so desires so long as the proper notice is given and there is the proper posting of such notice.

Any three members of the court may constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business with the exception of levying county taxes.  Therefore, any three commissioners or the county judge and any two commissioners may transact most county business as a quorum. Each county in Texas is divided into four commissioner’s precincts.  The voters of their precinct directly elect each of the four commissioners.  As a member of the Commissioners Court, each commissioner participates in all the decisions and work of the body.  In most counties, the county commissioner is solely and directly responsible for the administrative responsibilities, a county commissioner is much more than a “Road & Bridge Commissioner.”

County Commissioner
The job of the county commissioner calls for hands-on service delivery as well as policy-making budget decisions.

Four commissioners, each elected from a quarter of the county's population, serve along with the county judge on the commissioner’s court. In addition to assuring that county roads are maintained, commissioners vote with the county judge to set the budget for all county departments and adopt a tax rate.

Among other responsibilities, the commissioners court:

  • Sets the yearly property tax rate and approves the budget and employment level for the county;
  • Sets commissioners and justice of the peace precinct boundaries;
  • Calls, conducts and certifies elections, including bond elections;
  • Sets employment and benefit policy;
  • Establishes long-range thoroughfare, open space, land use, financial and law enforcement/jail needs plans;
  • Acquires property for rights-of-way or other uses determined to be in the public's best interest;
  • Reviews and approve subdivision platting and wastewater treatment for rural areas;
  • Provides rural ambulance services and subsidizes rural fire protection;
  • Oversees the construction, maintenance and improvement of county roads and bridges;
  • Appoints non-elected department heads and standing committees;
  • Supervises and controls the county courthouse, county buildings and facilities;
  • Adopts a county budget;
  • Determines county tax rates;
  • Fills vacancies in elective and appointive positions; and
  • Has exclusive authority to authorize contracts in the name of the county.

Information provided by Texas Association of Counties

County vs. City Government

  • County government powers and duties are limited in the Texas Constitution and by-laws passed by the Texas Legislature, making County government a legal subdivision of the State. Most Cities govern by home-rule and has extensive ordinance making authority. Counties are not authorized to make their own ordinances, as are home rule cities.
  • Significant differences between Texas City and County government authority also occur in the area of land development. Counties may require landowners to make only those improvements that counties are statutorily permitted to require, primarily in street and drainage improvements to subdivisions. There are also limitations and differences from City government which occur in zoning authority, noise regulations, and building permit requirements.

In summary, a County has no authority to act UNLESS the legislature has given that authority. Cities can act UNLESS the legislature has DENIED them that authority. While we can’t regulate in some areas we CAN and DO enforce State law!

Texas Local Government Code, Section 81.0025

 § 81.0025. CONTINUING EDUCATION.  (a) A county commissioner must successfully complete at least 16 classroom hours of continuing education in the performance of the duties of county commissioners at least once in each 12-month period.

        (b)  Continuing education instruction required by this section must be certified by an accredited public institution of higher education.

        (c)  To satisfy the requirement of this section, a commissioner is entitled to carry forward from one 12-month period to the next not more than eight continuing education hours that the commissioner completes in excess of the required 16 hours.