By Susan M. Redford, Executive Director
As we enter the summer months, there is excitement in the air at Texas Association of Counties (TAC) and throughout our 254 counties. After 15 months of virtual meetings, limited in-person conferences and few county visits, the state of Texas is open, and your TAC staff is now back on the road and excited to see each of you.
The summer months also bring some new faces to TAC leadership. TAC Board President-Elect Kim Halfmann, Glasscock County Judge, retired from county government this spring. We will miss her leadership and passion for county government. Thank you, Judge Halfmann!
The TAC Board of Directors met May 20 and appointed Tom Green County Auditor Nathan Cradduck as President-Elect. Nathan will ascend to the presidency in January. This appointment left a vacancy in the Vice-President position on the board. Yoakum County Commissioner Tim Addison was unanimously elected to this position. Congratulations to Nathan and Tim. We look forward to working closely with both of you.
On May 31, we saw the 87th Texas Legislature come to a close. It was a session to remember. Maneuvering through a pandemic and a major ice storm while navigating hotly debated issues such as election security, constitutional carry, law enforcement and bail reform, and of course, taxpayer-funded lobbying challenged all involved.
Please join us Sept. 1-3 for the 2021 TAC Legislative Conference as we review the session and analyze how new legislation affects county government. This year's conference will be hybrid in nature. Not only are we offering in-person sessions and activities, but there is also a virtual option for those who cannot make the trip to Austin. This year's theme is “Stronger Together.” I can think of no better way to describe the monumental effort by county officials over the past year.
In August, our risk control consultants will be hosting a series of TAC RMP Regional Workshops for Human Resources and TAC RMP Regional Workshops for Law Enforcement around the state. Several counties have graciously offered to host these regional workshops. We hope you can join us at a location near you as we focus on helping members mitigate risk and control losses.
In May, federal funds under the American Rescue Plan became available to every county in the United States to further assist with recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. A total of $65.1 billion in direct aid is allocated to all counties nationwide. Texas' 254 counties will collectively receive about $5.7 billion. This is the largest allocation of direct funds to Texas counties in history.
We have been working closely with our partners at the National Association of Counties to provide counties with the tools and resources they need to understand how to receive these funds and what the eligible uses and reporting requirements are. You can check out our American Rescue Plan Information & Resources page for up-to-date information and the answer to many of your questions. Please take advantage of this tremendous opportunity to further assist your county on its road to recovery.
Our team at TAC stands ready to assist you in any way possible. Please do not hesitate to call on us at any time. We are grateful for our members and for your support. We look forward to seeing you in person and remain committed to helping Texas counties “find a way.” Together we are #254Strong.