our county sheriff, his staff of deputy sheriffs, and our constables and their deputy constables give us the ongoing gifts of public safety, even on Dec. 25. Our courts provide another component of our criminal justice system that’s improving daily.
Judges, justices of the peace, county and district attorneys, and county and district clerks all play significant roles in the state court system, which is largely funded and administered by county government. We can count on them to prosecute criminals and serve justice, and much more. Justices of the peace hear a variety of cases involving small claims, debt and juvenile matters, and they even perform weddings. Other judges help make the holidays and futures for children and families much brighter by handling adoptions.
In Williamson County, the elections administrator conducts elections for all government levels: local, state and federal. Remember them when you go to the polls. They’re the ones who set up the polling places, keep voting records, track voter turnout and coordinate the workers and volunteers who run the elections. Sometimes they work until the wee hours of the next morning after the polls close processing the vote counts.
If you misplace your birth certificate, marriage license, deed of trust or maybe even your childhood letter to Santa—okay, maybe not that item—the county clerk’s office is the place where you want to start looking. This department maintains and preserves the official and permanent records for the county, its residents and the court system. The county clerk is also the clerk for the county courts at law charged with filing criminal, civil and probate cases, and collecting all judgments from these courts.
The commissioners court conducts the general business of the county, including adopting the county’s budget and tax rate, filling vacancies in elective and appointive offices and maintaining all county buildings and facilities. The court also has the exclusive authority to approve contracts and the responsibility to construct and maintain county roads and bridges.
The health and welfare of county residents remains a high priority. My office, as well as others in the county, sometimes field calls from constituents about illegally dumped trash. If it’s in the county outside of a city jurisdiction, the constables’ offices take care of it. After the holidays, Wilco residents can take their unflocked Christmas trees to the Williamson County Landfill in Hutto for free recycling from Dec. 26 through Jan. 13. Call 512-759-8881.
The Williamson County and Cities Health Services District provides clinics that offer immunizations, women’s health services and other health-related programs, while also tracking and reducing potential and active public health emergencies in the county.
The county funds additional health services. The Williamson County Emergency Services Mobile Outreach Team provides emergency and short-term medical health services for patients who are suicidal, homicidal or need immediate psychiatric care. They also oversee HealthCareLink, a program that helps patients with more chronic concerns and who generally have extensive medical needs in addition to behavioral issues. Our Emergency Medical Services teams have achieved accreditation at the highest levels nationally, and they offer the public CPR, first aid and many other classes to make the county safer, healthier and better informed.
Those who have served our country proudly, even through the holidays, can receive assistance from the county veterans services offices that coordinate pensions, loans, transportation and other help for veterans and their families.
A good addition for Wilco families or individuals during the holidays is a new pet from the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter. The county partners with the cities of Cedar Park, Hutto, Leander and Round Rock to operate the shelter. These adoptable creatures surely can offer gifts of love and companionship. The shelter is a great place to find that pet and the right place to look for a lost one.
As one of four county commissioners, together with our county judge, we make decisions about funding and implementing many of these programs. Though our programs are too numerous to mention them all in this piece, I sincerely thank our county employees for their service and dedication. To connect with our county services, please visit http://www.wilco.org.
Happy holiday season to every Wilco resident!