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Guide to Services

The Texas Association of Counties (TAC) Board of Directors, made up of leaders representing every county office, determines the services to be provided by the Association based on the needs of Texas counties and the resources available. These services are carefully crafted and delivered to help county government function more efficiently, so county officials and employees can deliver better value to local residents.

Legislative Support

The TAC Legislative Department helps county officials connect with state officials in Austin and provides important information to the state leadership. Both legislators and state agency leaders turn to TAC to find out how county officials feel about important issues that affect county government, while county officials count on TAC legislative liaisons to provide them with relevant information and voice county concerns to state officials. TAC legislative liaisons also promote county interests by serving on state and federal advisory committees and workgroups.
The TAC Core Legislative Group consists of county officials from various offices who have committed their time to the county legislative effort. The goal of the group is to work with the members of the legislature to ensure that county government can continue to serve local residents efficiently, a goal that requires members of the group to communicate clearly the impact proposed legislation will have on their local communities. In recent sessions, the Core Legislative Group has become increasingly effective, and county officials’ relationships with members of the legislature continue to improve.
During the session and beyond, TAC actively gathers, analyzes and distributes vital information on policy issues affecting county government. The Legislative Department keeps county officials abreast of current developments through a regular publication called County Issues and on the TAC website. Urgent information is distributed by email alerts to appropriate county officials. Be sure to open any email you get from TAC Legislative, especially during the session. Also, follow TAC on Twitter at @TexasCounties for legislative news and updates.
CIP.jpgSince 1998, the TAC County Information Program (CIP) has served as a central source for information about Texas counties. CIP operates within the TAC Legislative Department because providing timely information is so important to the legislative process. However, the information gathered and organized by CIP is available to you at any time, through the TAC website and through various publications.
County officials now have easy access to a wealth of county data that includes tax information, county profiles, and census and financial data. TAC also offers useful comparative county data such as specific property tax and demographic information. All this information is available on the TAC website or upon request.
TAC also offers services utilizing GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology. These services include mapping and data analysis. The TAC GIS information specialist works closely with both state and county leadership in dealing with important matters like emergency management and flood-plain management.

Relevant and Timely Legal Information

As you know, county government must operate within a complex web of laws and regulations. One of county officials’ greatest challenges is ensuring that operations documents.jpg
are not only efficient, but also within the law. By offering a toll-free legal hotline (888-ASK-TAC4), TAC legal specialists can assist county officials in researching issues to find statutes, regulations, opinions and court cases relevant to a particular county situation. It will be comforting to know that you approached your difficult job with a good understanding of the laws that apply to your operations. In addition, we provide many legal resources online, including notice of upcoming legal deadlines, a wide variety of legal publications, and links to helpful legal resources.
The TAC Legal Department also responds quickly to important legal developments by providing notice and analysis to the right people. TAC also distributes upon request a number of helpful legal guides on topics that include: oath and bond requirements, open meetings, public information, financial disclosure for county officers, public finance, bail bonds, animal control and others.
INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEBSITE IS A RESEARCH TOOL AND NOT THE COUNSEL OF AN ATTORNEY. THIS WEBSITE IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE ADVICE OF AN ATTORNEY. It is provided without warranty of any kind and, as with any research tool, should be double checked against current statutes, case law, attorney general opinions and advice of legal counsel e.g., your county attorney.  Each public officer is responsible for determining duties of the office or position held.  Any question regarding your duties should be directed to competent legal counsel for a written opinion.

Pooled Coverage and Related Services

professionals.jpgSince 1974, counties have pooled their resources through TAC to provide coverage against a broad range of liabilities and risks, provide affordable health benefits to county officials and employees and pay for the unemployment benefits required by law. Owned and managed by counties, these programs have saved Texas taxpayers millions of dollars and grown into a stable, sustainable resource of protection, specifically tailored for the unique needs of counties. TAC’s self-funded pools offer all of the protection necessary for counties, county officials and county employees.
Our pools offer members:
  • Sound county leadership. Each pool is governed by a separate board of directors made up of county officials. Our county leaders conservatively navigate policy development, program enhancements and negotiations with vendors.
  • Many program options. Pools work to provide all counties with a variety of viable options for coverages to fit their needs and budgets.
  • Long-term stability of rates. One of the clear benefits to pooling is the ability to stabilize rates from year to year due to volume purchasing.
  • Proven track record of financial stability. TAC has a decades-long, proven track record of effectively administering self-funded pools on behalf of counties. Every year, all pools undergo outside audits to ensure financial accountability.
  • Consultation, risk control and wellness services. TAC’s professional consultants offer knowledge and insights to help county decision-makers understand how various types of coverage protect the county against risk, how to keep unemployment costs down and how to fashion an affordable employee benefits plan. TAC offers Risk Management Pool members training and support from specialists in safety and risk management, human resources and law enforcement. Health & Employee Benefits Pool members enjoy the benefits of the Healthy County wellness program. For both pools, these programs help members control losses and keep costs down.

Education and Training to Fit Your Needs

Providing a wide variety of training opportunities relevant to the daily challenges of public office is important. Our training events-designed and guided by county officials-target the needs of the county audience and provide a unique opportunity for everyone to participate in coordinated, professionally planned educational activities that offer great networking opportunities. TAC training programs meet the mandatory education requirements of most county offices and many are co-sponsored by state institutions of higher learning including the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs and Texas Tech University.

Leadership Program

Created in 2000, the Texas Association of Counties Leadership Program focuses on developing leadership skills and disseminating best practices in innovation and achievement. The program features an intensive leadership class designed for county officials and an annual county best practices awards program. The Leadership Program has established a program in mid-level management training, which is targeted toward county employees who are managers. The program has been well-received and is available again this year.

A Network of Communications

communication.jpgThe Association coordinates the flow of county-related information through a variety of award-winning publications, both online and in print, to keep county officials informed about issues affecting local governments. For more than 15 years, TAC has published County, a bi-monthly magazine offering important information that is also enjoyable to read. Other publications provide information and assistance on a wide variety of current topics.
In addition to our publications, the Association offers a variety of ways for county officials to effectively communicate with each other, get their questions answered and keep abreast of issues on a day-to-day basis.
A communication tool that has proven to be very popular with members are listserves. A listserve is an email group whose members can seek information from other members by sending a single email to the entire group. The Association currently administers 11 listserves aligned by county office for officials and along areas of common interest. All listserves are free to officials and employees from TAC member counties. Membership in some listserves is limited to particular officials or organizations.
In recent years, TAC has begun to provide information to the public about county government. This project uses a variety of media, including printed materials, video and web-based information. The Association understands the importance of helping the public to understand the value of county government, which is the government closest to the people.

Technology: Tools and Solutions

Supported by the Texas Association of Counties, the TAC County Information Resources Agency (CIRA) works to help all counties have the means and resources to implement technology that citizens now expect from their government. A main priority for CIRA is to provide opportunities for counties to efficiently communicate with one another so that solutions can be shared.
CIRA also provides a wide variety of technology services for all counties that include: web hosting and email services, the ability to accept electronic payments, technology planning assistance and more.