Executive Director's Report

Public well-being at the center of initial ARP spending plans

By Susan M. Redford, Executive Director

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Counties are innovative when it comes to the proper stewardship of public dollars. Nowhere better is that being exemplified than how Texas counties are using the collective $5.7 billion received from the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

Counties are assembling citizen committees to help direct the extra spending.

Others are exploring using the money to compensate workers who have been and still are manning the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

The funding is being considered for much needed resources to help tackle community mental health issues and pandemic-induced poverty, and to expand vaccinations, as told in this issue of County magazine.

As the delta variant of COVID-19 spreads in our communities, counties continue to step up to the crisis. The varied ways our members are using the funding show their commitment to improving the livelihood of their communities.

And as always, the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) is here to help.

Members can still rely on TAC's frequent updates on our American Rescue Plan Information & Resources page at www.county.org.

We also provided members during our Legislative Conference in September a deep dive into the ARP, as well as various county-specific issues the Texas Legislature tackled during the regular and special sessions.

A big thanks goes to TAC staff members who were involved in the planning of another successful event, particularly the Legislative Services and the Education and Events Services departments. To adapt to the times, this year’s Legislative Conference was a hybrid event, allowing people to attend virtually and in person — and our members were eager to sign up. Weeks before the event, more than 700 people had already registered, outpacing previous years. We are grateful for our members' support and enthusiasm.

And, as we move into the fall, TAC is committed to connecting with our members through our events and services. Consultants continue to juggle on-site and remote visits based on members' comfort levels. TAC Risk Management Services has been hosting a series of regional in-person workshops for Risk Management Pool members throughout the state, covering law enforcement, human resources and risk control topics. Workshops continue through Nov. 2. Check www.county.org/calendar for details on locations and dates. Many thanks to member counties who are graciously hosting the events.

We, at TAC, are constantly finding ways to "deliver unbelievable customer service" — TAC Way Fundamental #3 — to our members because we know they are doing the same for Texas residents. If there is more we can do for you, please don't hesitate to reach out to me or any TAC staff. Together we are #254Strong.