210 S. McDonald Street
McKinney, Texas 75069
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Leigh Hornsby, Public Information Officer
August 30, 2005
Collin County announces safety and security initiatives; discusses FY 06 budget/S.H. 121
(McKinney, TX) – Members of the Collin County Commissioners Court, along with Criminal District Attorney John Roach and Sheriff Terry Box, have announced a series of safety and security initiatives planned for the upcoming fiscal year. Commissioners Court members also detailed aspects of the county budget as well as economic development issues, including the construction of S.H. 121, during a news conference this afternoon.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
“Of the 47 newly created employment positions in Collin County, 39 of the positions are directly related to safety,” says Collin County Judge Ron Harris.
The Sheriff’s Office will add two patrol officers and two dispatchers; the county will create an animal services division; and the county will install new security systems in two courthouse facilities.
“We have only added three patrol officers in the last 20 years,” says Sheriff Box. “As the population has grown, it is taking us a longer response time to reach rural and unincorporated areas. Additionally, new dispatchers will help us during peak times and help offset any increase in calls.”
Ten additional safety persons will be hired under the county’s new animal services division. The SPCA of Texas announced last year that they would no longer provide animal control and sheltering services. As a result, Collin County has agreed to manage these programs.
Collin County’s main courthouse on McDonald Street in McKinney and the county’s University Drive Courts Facility, also in McKinney, will soon have new security systems in place.
“In an effort to protect our visitors, jurors and staff, the county will place metal detection services, including an entire staff of security personnel in both courts facilities,” says Collin County District Attorney John Roach. “This initiative will help deter potential threats and increase law enforcement visibility in our buildings.”
BUDGET, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND S.H.121
On August 23rd, the Commissioners Court adopted the county’s FY 2006 budget. Collin County’s budget growth as compared to the FY 2005 budget was nine million dollars. This represents approximately a 4.2% increase for the next fiscal year. This will be the 8th continuous year that the county has maintained a .25 cent tax rate.
By holding this rate flat over the past eight years, the county has been able to build reserves and cash fund major improvements as opposed to issuing debt.
“The budget appropriations for 2006 address numerous needs of a growing county,” says Collin County Commissioner Phyllis Cole. It is anticipated that Collin County’s population will grow by more than 40,000 in 2005 and is anticipated to continue at this rate for 2006. This is more than an 86% growth in population over the past decade, ranking Collin County as one of the fastest growing counties in the nation.
The appraised values in Collin County grew 7.52% in 2005. Of this growth, 4.8% was attributed to new construction, a continued indication of the vast growth experienced over the past few years. Two-point-seven percent of the growth was in existing value for both commercial and residential property. The average home value is $214,006. On average, a homeowner in the county will pay $13.66 per year or $1.14 per month in additional taxes. This will generate approximately $2.4 million in additional revenue.
“The overall growth has allowed the county to fund these needed public safety expenditures as well as funding other activities for such things as the new animal services division, which will be a joint city/county initiative for mandated animal control and services both in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county,” says Judge Harris.
“Building reserves and cash funding major improvements has, in part, enabled the county to maintain a AAA bond rating, which greatly reduces the interest paid on voter approved bonds sold,” says Commissioner Cole.
To date, the county has issued over $63 million in road projects and $40 million for the new courthouse and additional jail and juvenile detention space. These bonds are a part of the 2003 voter approved $229 million total bond package. Authorized road bonds are primarily dedicated to participation projects with area cities in an effort to keep up with the demands of infrastructure needs. These joint projects have enabled citizens to have a greatly improved transportation system.
“S.H. 121 is a great example of how this joint city/county participation has worked,” says Collin County Commissioner Jack Hatchell. “Service roads are being built and efforts are in place to expedite the construction on the main lanes via tolls or other means.”
“S.H. 121 is more than an important roadway. It’s vital for economic development, not only in Collin County but for our friends in Denton, Dallas and Tarrant counties. And, a decision to toll this roadway did not come easy. We charged a group of regional engineers, planners and leaders to develop a feasibility study. This study took months to complete. After the county and our city partners reviewed it, we made a joint decision to toll the roadway with the provision that funds are kept locally for projects within Collin County. Throughout this process, we kept in mind our future generations and our immediate needs,” says Hatchell.