Exactly what do we get from the county’s share of your property taxes?
First, it helps to know that Collin County claims about a dime of every property tax dollar collected within its boundaries. In Plano, for example, a $245,072 home would draw $5,508 in annual taxes for 2012.
And after annual city, school and community college levies are taken out, the county’s portion of local property tax dollars comes to $588 – about $49 a month, or 10% of that same levy’s total. So, for the price of Internet service or a mobile phone calling plan, what follows is a basic tally of how the money is spent:
More than half of it will pay for public safety and the county’s legal system – about $70 million – a substantial part (53%) of the county’s operating budget for government services:
- The Criminal District Attorney’s office of 117 prosecutors, investigators and support staff filed more than more than 7,900 misdemeanor and 3,177 felony cases last year.
- Nine state District Courts handle civil, family and criminal cases. The state pays the lion’s share of judicial salaries, but the county staffs the courts with bailiffs, court reporters and clerical staff to keep the wheels of justice turning. Beyond disposing of about 5,100 criminal dockets, they will also handle more than 18,000 civil cases, with about 6,700 of those split between divorce filings and other family law matters.
- Another six County Courts at Law will handle more than 12,000 civil and criminal cases this year – with lawsuit claims ranging up to $100,000, and Class A- and B- misdemeanors.
- Five Justices of the Peace in sub-courthouses scattered throughout the county, and shepherd more than 35,000 traffic cases, plus another 13,000 cases including small claims courts and truancy.
- In Probate Court, about 1,600 probate and guardianship cases will be heard, while another 1,000 mental health cases will be filed.
- Four Constables and their deputies will act as official process servers, passing out some 19,000 civil papers, including warrants and other official papers, notices and evictions in the county.
- The Sheriff’s Office will staff the jail to house, feed and watch over 830 adult prisoners around the clock on any given day. A juvenile facility will house about 90 young offenders on average, with room for about 50 more. On top of that, deputies will respond to more than 19,000 service calls, draw up a few thousand criminal complaints and work on hundreds of drug cases.
- Sheriff’s dispatchers will take 47,000 calls for service calls from small towns and outlying rural areas.
County payouts outside of public safety, law enforcement and criminal justice go to programs where:
- County clerks will record and file 160,000 land documents, 3,000-plus business name filings, and more than 35,000 vita record filings, such as birth, death or marriage certificates.
- District clerks will see almost 16,000 new civil and criminal cases filed in criminal, civil, family and juvenile courts, receive about 15,000 child support payments and process some 22,000 passport applications. They’ll also help more than 25,000 residents navigate jury service.
- Meanwhile, out on rural county roads, Public Works workers will pave more than 50 miles of packed stone with asphalt.
- Scores of other county workers will repair and maintain the buildings where all this occurs, others will watch over the building and expanding of facilities, such as the courthouse and its new annex on Bloomdale Road, the four-story administration building, the 400,000-square-foot detention facility, and even our animal shelter.
- Others will run health and immunization clinics; update and refine digital road maps throughout the county to keep track of the growth and addressing; some will help install new fiber optic cables to connect and keep running hundreds of government computers scattered throughout county offices on our main campus as well as the various satellite offices.