August 17, 2021
By Susan M. Redford, TAC Executive Director
July was a busy month for the Texas Association of Counties (TAC). Early in the month, I traveled with members of the TAC Board of Directors and other county officials to the National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference. If you have not attended a NACo conference, I strongly encourage you to consider making the trip next year. The sessions were relevant and thought-provoking. We discussed many important issues including the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and broadband infrastructure for counties.
Members of the NACo staff will be joining us in Austin at the TAC Legislative Conference, Sept. 1‑3, for a session discussing applicable uses, documentation and resources for ARPA funds as well as a session discussing ways Texas counties have benefitted from NACo’s advocacy at the federal level. These are two of 10 breakout sessions on the second day of the conference. The theme for the conference is "Stronger Together." If you have not registered to participate either in person or virtually, time is running out.
While you are working diligently on your county budgets, we are working to decipher the hundreds of bills passed this legislative session affecting Texas counties, and our 2021 Legislative Analysis Report is now available online at www.county.org/LAR. Of course, we are also closely monitoring the second special session of the 87th Legislature, which remains in the front of everyone’s mind. How will this special session affect how county officials hold safe and affordable elections, what will redistricting look like for both rural and urban counties, how will the state allocate its share of ARPA funds? Our Legislative Services Department has been working overtime to prepare information and resources for county officials to aid in better understanding these impacts and looming questions.
Counties continue to grapple with permissible uses and reporting requirements for ARPA funds. We are tracking all relevant information from the U.S. Treasury Department. Please visit our American Rescue Plan Information & Resources page on www.county.org for up-to-date information. TAC staff are also working with a number of elected officials to answer questions you may have regarding this landmark $5.7 billion in direct aid for Texas counties. There are many opportunities to do great things in your community with these funds. We stand ready to assist you.
As a final reminder, please take advantage of the many regional training opportunities we are offering this fall. The Regional Pool Workshops for Risk Control are scheduled at four locations around the state. This year we are offering subject-specific Regional Pool Workshops for Human Resources and Law Enforcement as well. We encourage you to attend any or all that may apply to you. They are free for counties that are members of TAC’s Risk Management Pool.
During this time of the year we know you have a lot on your minds. Budgets are tight and the future is a bit uncertain. Rest assured that your Association is working diligently to continue to improve and meet the growing needs of counties. We appreciate each of you and the work you do for your counties. Thank you for allowing us to serve you. We truly are stronger together.
If we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to call. Stay safe — Texas needs you. We remain 254 Strong!