Creating noteworthy solutions to increase efficiency, improve operations or overcome obstacles brought about by, say, a pandemic is how Texas counties better serve their residents. The best of these solutions also serve as models that other counties can use to meet their own particular needs.
Every other year, to help spread the word about innovative county programs and encourage others to expand and reproduce these efforts, the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) recognizes pursuits of excellence with its County Best Practices Awards Program. This is one of those years. TAC congratulates the six counties selected to receive a 2020 County Best Practices Award.
Here’s a quick look at this year's recipients. Each awardee will receive more in-depth coverage in upcoming issues of County magazine.
- A mobile unit allows residents to record, buy or request copies of vital documents, such as military discharge papers, property records and marriage licenses, without having to drive to downtown San Antonio.
- From providing brown bag lunches to expanding daily delivery of hot meals to qualifying seniors, to assembling shelf-stable meal boxes and partnering with local restaurants and nonprofits to distribute meals and food, six related programs help shield those in need from hunger during the coronavirus pandemic.
- With the pandemic putting it to its first real test, a coalition comes together to build a cooperative approach to communications and to share accurate information.
- The county clerk’s office adapts videoconferencing and electronic-signature software to verify and issue marriage licenses while observing COVID-19 safety protocols.
- A new intake program improves the evaluation of misdemeanor family violence cases to better understand the legal goals for each one.
- The county clerk’s office sets up a computer kiosk to enable the verification and issuance of marriage licenses during the pandemic.
- A neighborhood-based evacuation drill offers other counties and communities a template for their own preparations against the threat of wildfire.
- "Silver watch" participants, trained in partnership with Meals on Wheels, visit elderly residents who don't have anyone to regularly check on them.
- Defendants who have received a citation for driving without a license, driving with an invalid license or driving with no car insurance can avoid paying a fine by taking a financial education class, reducing their chances of becoming a repeat offender.
Learn more about TAC's County Best Practices Awards Program at www.county.org/bestpractices