Survey

texascounties

Expenditures-2016-Final

County Information Program

2016

County

Expenditures

Survey

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties


TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES

COUNTY INFORMATION PROGRAM

CONTRIBUTORS

Authors

Bruce Barr

Tim Brown

Aurora Flores

Laura V. Garcia

Laura Nicholes

Ender Reed

Map Designer

Bruce Barr

Project Manager

Paul K. Emerson

Editor

Joel Nihlean

Cover Design

David Garcia

Layout

Kristen Benavides

Printing

Raul Martinez

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the county judges, auditors, treasurers and staff

from each of the participating counties for their dedication and hard work. Thank

you again for your time and commitment to the 2016 County Expenditures Survey.

Published November 2016.


County Information Program

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County

Expenditures

Survey

Inmate Medical, Dental and Mental Health Costs

By Tim Brown, Senior Analyst, County Information Program

Question: What were the total expenditures for inmate

medical, dental and mental health costs in your county jail?

Include costs associated with either a county jail or a privately

run jail holding county inmates under contract with the county.

BACKGROUND

In general, health care costs continue to increase, although

the rate of increase has moderated in recent years. The 2015

Willis Towers Watson/NBGH Best Practices in Health Care Employer

Survey, which covers mostly businesses but also includes local

governments, notes that while “our study of these trends

over two decades shows that health care cost trends remain

at historically low levels, they are still well above the rate of

general inflation.” 1

However, the 2016 County Expenditures Survey specifically asks

about costs for inmate medical, dental and mental health

care, not general health care costs. And unlike businesses,

-% 0%

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

4.2

4.9

4.1

6.4

5.3

6.8

6.8

5.5

5.5

5.0

11.3%

9.2

8.3

Health care trend after plan and contribution changes

Consumer Price Index(CPI-U)

5% 10% 15%

100000000

80000000

100000000 60000000

40000000 80000000

100000000 20000000 60000000

40000000 80000000 0

20000000 60000000

40000000 0

1500000

20000000

1200000

0

1500000 900000

1200000 600000

1500000 300000 900000

1200000 6000000

300000 900000

0

8000000 600000

7000000

300000

6000000

5000000 80000000

4000000 7000000

3000000 6000000

2000000 5000000

8000000

1000000 4000000

7000000

30000000

6000000

2000000

5000000

1000000

4000000

0

3000000

2000000

1000000

county jails have a far more limited ability to control the

population they serve.

Moreover, Medicaid won’t pay medical costs for an

incarcerated individual. Therefore, these costs often fall to

counties by default.

In addition, mentally ill individuals often end up in county

jails, waiting for space in the state’s mental health hospitals

where they can receive treatment to restore their competency

to stand trial. According to Christine Mann, Texas

Department of State Health Services’ spokeswoman, the wait

time for those inmates can be as short as two weeks or as long

as five months, depending on their criminal offense and to

which hospital they are assigned. 2 For more information on

individuals with mental health

Total Expenditures needs in county jails, see the

article State and Local Mental

Health Partnership in this report.

78,314,369

78,314,369

2014

78,314,369

90,270,530

2014 2015

Average Expenditures

0

1,204,836

2014

1,204,836

2014

1,204,836

2014

5,086,821

2014

2014

90,270,530

90,270,530

2015

1,410,477

2015

1,410,477

1,410,477

2015

2015

6,402,343

5,086,821

Standard 2014 Deviation 2015

6,402,343

5,086,821

2014

2015

6,402,343

2015

2015

IMPACT ON COUNTIES:

On the 2016 TAC County

Expenditures Survey, we asked

counties, “What were the total

expenditures for inmate medical,

dental and mental health costs

in your county jail? Include

costs associated with either a

county jail or a privately run jail

holding county inmates under

contract with the county.” This

differed from the previous county

expenditure survey in 2014 which

did not include the instructions

in the second sentence.

Consequently, the following

text does not include the data

from the prior survey since the

responses may not be directly

comparable.

Note that one county,

Kendall, provided expenditure

information for fiscal year

2014 of $36,011.44 but did not

provide expenditure information

1

November 2016


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Expenditures

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County Information Program

Inmate Medical, Dental and Mental Health Costs (continued)

for fiscal year 2015. While this amount was well

below the $213,108 average for the “C” Bracket,

that group of counties experienced a decline in

inmate medical, dental and mental health costs

the following year even without Kendall. This was

not the case for the counties in either the largest or

smallest population brackets.

The “A” Bracket expenditures increased by

22.7 percent from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year

2015. The smallest counties, in the “E” Bracket

experienced increases of 18.4 percent.

Bracket

Population Range

#Counties

FY 2014/FY 2015

FY 2014

Avg.

FY 2015

Avg.

A >1 Million 2/2 $25,,281,265 $31,028,924

B 100,001 - 1 Million 12/12 $1,744,434 $1,817,916

C 25,001 - 100,000 21/20 $213,108 $204,591

D 10,001 - 25,000 17/17 $124,387 $119,703

E < 10,000 13/13 $17,599 $20,839

Several counties in the “E” Bracket reported

significant percentage increases, although the largest

percentage changes occurred in slightly larger counties.

Real County, in the “C” Bracket, reported fiscal year 2014

expenditures of $7,679 which ballooned up to $37,445 in

fiscal year 2015 – an increase of 387.6 percent in one year!

The largest decrease in expenditures occurred in the “D”

Bracket with Callahan County reporting an 89.3 percent

decrease from fiscal year 2014 expenditures of $66,614 to

$7,130 the following fiscal year.

Of course, the largest dollar change occurred in one of

the largest counties. Dallas County reported increased

expenditures of $10,380,254 from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal

year 2015 – a 26.2 percent change.

CONCLUSION:

While growth rates for health care costs have moderated,

they remain significant. Combine a significant annual

growth rate with the limited ability of county jails to control

the population they serve, and the result will naturally be

a somewhat chaotic looking trend line that increases as it

moves to the right. The line will vary considerably from year

to year, sometimes falling and sometimes rising, but over time

it gets higher and higher.

Every budget season, county officials face the difficult task

of trying to fund county jail inmate medical, dental and

mental health costs. Because those costs continue to increase

significantly faster than inflation, county revenues must

sometimes increase faster than inflation to keep pace.

_____________________

2

Harris

2015 pop. 4538028

Bell

2015 pop. 3349413

Bastrop

2013 pop. 75,825

Andrews

2015 pop. 18105

Crane

2015 pop. 5048

30,000,000

25,000,000

20,000,000

15,000,000

10,000,000

3,000,000

2,500,000

1,200,000

1,000,000

800,000

600,000

400,000

200,000

50,000

40,000

30,000

20,000

15,000

10,000

2012 2013 2014 2015

2012 2013 2014 2015

2012 2013 2014 2015

2012 2013 2014 2015

2012 2013 2014 2015

1

Willis Towers Watson/National Business Group, 2015 High-Performance Insights: Best

Practices in Health Care. Accessed May 9, 2016 at https://www.towerswatson.com/en-US/

Insights/IC-Types/Survey-Research-Results/2015/11/full-report-2015-towers-watsonnbgh-best-practices-in-health-care-employer-survey.

2

Mitch Mitchell, “Insane system? Arlington man bounces between jail, state hospital,” Fort

Worth Star-Telegram, May 9, 2016. Accessed May 24, 2016 at http://www.star-telegram.com/

news/local/community/arlington/article76594692.html#storylink=cpy.


County Information Program

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County

Expenditures

Survey

Legal Representation Costs in Child Protection Cases

By Laura V. Garcia, Deputy Legislative Director

Question: What were the total county costs for court appointed

attorneys in child protective services cases? (Do not include

court appointed attorneys for criminal cases.)

BACKGROUND

In many child abuse investigations, the Texas Department

of Family and Protective Services, which oversees Child

Protective Services (CPS), will seek removal of the child from

the household in order to protect the child’s safety. In fiscal

year 2015, 17,151 children were removed from their homes

statewide as a result of these investigations. 1 These removals,

which are legal actions sought in state court, grant the state

temporary or permanent custody of the child and involve

numerous hearings and court oversight as specified in state

law. State law also requires the appointment of counsel, also

known as an attorney ad litem, for the child and indigent

parents in the proceedings. 2

Texas counties bear all the costs associated with court

appointed attorneys for indigent parents and their children

in these child protection cases, as the state does not provide

any funding. 3 The appointment process varies by county,

with most counties using a rotational appointment list. Some

counties contract with attorneys for this purpose, and others

have a legal representation/public defender’s office. The

compensation for appointed attorneys is based primarily on

applicable fee schedules set in each county. These cases, and

the associated court appointments, can last anywhere from

12 months to several years. In some situations, the case can

remain active until the child exits the foster care system.

With increasing caseloads and the potentially lengthy duration

of these cases, the mandate to provide court appointed

counsel in CPS cases has become an increasingly significant

cost driver for many Texas counties.

IMPACT ON COUNTIES

In order to determine county expenditures for appointed

counsel in child protection cases for fiscal years 2014 and

2015, we asked counties: “What were the total county costs for

court appointed attorneys in child protective services cases?”

Since counties are also responsible for the costs of appointed

counsel in criminal cases, as well as juvenile cases, we wanted

to clarify that we were only seeking expenditures for costs

incurred in civil child protection cases.

Loving County

Population 115

Harris County

Population 4,538,028

Total and Average Expenditures

The responding counties provided the following information

on expenditures:

Number of Counties 63 63

FY of Expenditures 2014 2015

Total Expenditures $19,235,281 $19,195,272

Average Expenditures $305,332 $304,687

Total Costs for Appointed Attorneys in CPS Cases

20,000,000

15,000,000

10,000,000

5,000,000

0

Includes only those

counties for which

we have data for

both 2014 and 2015.

2014 2015

Fiscal Year

It should be noted that the total and average expenditures reported in the

table and chart above only reflect the costs incurred by 63 counties out

of 254.

For responding counties, total costs were about $19.2 million

for both 2014 and 2015, while average costs were just more

than $300,000 each year. Some counties may combine these

costs with those associated with appointed counsel in other

types of cases. Consequently, it is difficult to ascertain exact

expenditures for all counties.

3


County

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County Information Program

Legal Representation Costs in Child Protection Cases (continued)

Population

Bracket

Number of Counties

Average Costs

FY 2014

Average Costs

FY 2015

Change in

Average

Costs

< 10,000 13 $7,091 $6,689 -5.7%

saw a 17.2 percent increase in costs. Some

counties, such as those with populations of

less than 10,000 and those with more than 1

million, saw a slight decrease in costs.

10,001 – 25,000 15 $32,427 $39,835 22.8%

With 254 diverse counties, ranging from

25,001 –

19 $89,588 $104,976 17.2%

100,000

just under 100 in population to more than

4 million, expenditures for court appointed

100,001 –

13 $526,799 $536,094 1.8%

1 million

attorneys in these cases vary from county to

8.3

county. Population is one factor that may

> 1 million 3 $3,368,712 $3,182,343 -5.5% affect the amount of expenditures. Other

6.4

factors that can affect expenditures are the

number of actual cases filed, which can

5.3

sometimes increase dramatically when there

Average Costs for Court Appointed Attorneys in is a growth in child abuse investigations that warrant a child’s

CPS Cases in Counties

6.8

Grouped by Population Bracket removal from the household. The amount of resources available

to Child Protective Services can influence the exact number of

< 10,000

-5.7%

investigations.

10,001 - 25,000

25,001 - 100,000

100,001 - 1 Million

> Million

$1,000

13 counties

15 counties

19 counties

13 counties

3 counties

22.8%

17.2%

2014 2015

Includes only those counties

for which we have data

for both 2014 and 2015.

1.8%

-5.5%

$10,000 $100,000 $1,000,000 $10,000,000

It should also be noted that the expenditures are not broken

down between legal representation costs for children and legal

representation costs for indigent parents.

The table and chart above illustrate the average costs for court

appointed attorneys in CPS cases for reporting counties by

population bracket.

As depicted in the chart, the smaller to midsize counties (those

between 10,000 and 100,000 in population) experienced a more

significant increase in costs than those reporting counties in

other population brackets. From 2014 to 2015, counties between

10,001 and 25,000 in population saw a 22.8 percent increase in

costs, while counties between 25,001 and 100,000 in population

Additionally, the amount

of compensation for the

attorneys, the duration of the

cases, as well as the number of

attorneys appointed in each

case, can affect the total costs

for each county. Many times,

particularly in complex cases,

there are multiple attorneys

appointed for both the children

and parents.

Because expenditures vary from county

to county, it is difficult

to select a sampling of counties to

illustrate any trends statewide. The

expenditures from the following

counties are presented as examples

only.

As illustrated here, some counties

have experienced an increase in costs

for court appointed attorneys in child

protection cases, while others have seen

costs hold steady or decrease.

FACTORS AFFECTING COSTS

$4,505,219 (’14)

$342,991 (’14)

$41,442 (’14)

$ 7,581 (’14)

$4,127,786 (’15)

Harris County

pop. 4,538,028

$238,144 (’15)

$179,356 (’14)

Jefferson County

pop. 254,308

$259,908 (’15)

Bastrop County

pop. 80,527

$95,687 (’15)

Uvalde County

pop. 27,245

$ 8,309 (’15)

Dickens County

pop. 2,206

4


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County

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CONCLUSION

Ultimately, attorney appointments in CPS cases are becoming a

significant cost driver for many counties — much like the expenses

incurred by counties to provide court-appointed counsel for

indigent defendants in criminal cases. During the 85th legislative

session, the Legislature is expected to propose several changes

to help improve the state’s currently troubled child welfare

system. Some of those reforms may affect Texas counties, and it

remains unclear where funding may be appropriated. However,

with no current state funding for CPS court appointments, it is a

significant unfunded mandate for counties that will likely continue

to strain budgets in the years to come.

_____________________

1

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services 2015 Data Book, at 47.

2

Tex. Fam. Code §§ 107.012 and 107.013.

3

Tex. Fam. Code § 107.015.

5


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County Information Program

State Juvenile Justice Savings Increase County Costs

By Laura Nicholes, Legislative Liaison

Question: How much did the county contribute for support of

community programs directed to the housing, care, school,

rehabilitation and treatment of youths in an effort to divert

juveniles from state funded incarceration?

BACKGROUND:

This question is intended to measure costs to counties

associated with the provision of community diversion

programs and supervision of an increased number of youth

being redirected from state juvenile incarceration facilities.

Counties must provide a level of support for juvenile probation

departments; however, support of community programs is a

discretionary item in the county budget and contributions may

increase or decrease according to the available resources and

local demands placed on the county.

In 2007, the Legislature prohibited misdemeanor offenders

from being sent to the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) and

data reflected an increase in funding from counties. Juvenile

probation departments experienced an unanticipated loss

of federal grant money to help with placement of children in

foster care and counties had to make up that loss of revenue in

2008. That loss of revenue continues to impact the budget and

range of services in many smaller counties.

In 2009, the Legislature appropriated about $50 million in

grant funds for the purpose of establishing new programs to

serve juveniles in their home communities, diverting more

commitments from TYC. Since then, several state-operated

youth prisons have closed and the target numbers for

committing youth to state facilities has fallen to 1,100 per year.

More and more juveniles are being supervised and treated in

their communities, and counties are increasingly feeling the

pressure to help fund local programs that serve the increased

number of local offenders that would have been otherwise

under state jurisdiction.

Most recently, the 2015 Legislature implemented another

diversion effort by removing criminal charges from truancy

allegations making them civil charges with mandatory

expunctions. They also established civil truancy courts in

certain counties in an effort to address the reasons students

may fail to attend school and divert them from entering the

criminal juvenile justice system. This same legislature also

embarked on an effort to regionalize juvenile probation services

in an effort to serve more youth locally while further decreasing

the number of juveniles penetrating the state correctional

population.

SURVEY RESULTS:

As mentioned previously, the funding for community youth

programs is discretionary and fluctuates according to the

demands of the county budget. Forty-four counties responded

to this question on the Survey and presented an overall increase

of 0.06 percent in support of youth diversion programs. Below

are several examples that demonstrate noticeable variations in

funding based on county resource availability and community/

juvenile offender need:

• The only “Bracket

A” county (with a

population of over 1

million) providing

data on this question

was Dallas County.

Between 2014 and

2015 the county

decreased its support

local youth diversion

programs by more

than $247,000.

• Eight “Bracket B”

(populations ranging

100,001 – 1 million)

counties answered

the survey. These

counties increased

their spending by

almost $462,000 in

2014 – 2015.

• Sixteen “Bracket C”

counties (populations

ranging 25,001 –

100,000) reported

a total decrease of

almost $128,000

among them.

$98,983 (’14)

$11,653 (’14)

$4,342 (’14)

$375,502 (’14)

$146,055 (’14)

$110,220 (’15)

Bastrop County

$121,426 (’15)

Coryell County

$11,653 (’15)

Dickens County

$80,152 (’15)

Ward County

pop. 11,700

$266,394 (’15)

Young County

500000

400000

300000

200000

500000

400000

300000

200000

500000

400000

300000

200000

500000

400000

300000

500000

200000

400000

300000

200000

500000

400000

300000

500000

200000

400000

300000

200000

500000

400000

300000

200000

500000

400000

300000

200000

500000

400000

300000

200000

6


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• Seven “Bracket D” (populations ranging 10,001 – 25,000)

counties also decreased a total of just under $20,000 in

2014 – 2015, even though Ward reported a sharp increase.

• Thirteen of the smallest “Bracket E” counties (populations

less than 10,000) reported a cumulative increase of $1,671.

CONCLUSION:

The upcoming 85th legislative session will keep juvenile justice

issues at the forefront of the state policy and budget-writing

discussions. A pattern has been established by statewide

policymakers to cut programs or funding for services that

still need to be administered — often at the local level — to

accomplish the end goal of “ justice reforms” or “saving taxpayer

money.”

While it may appear to save taxpayer money at the state level,

the burden trickles down to the local level, and property taxes

become the only source of funding to make up what the state

just “saved.” With several juvenile justice topics on the table

in 2017, this will continue to be a category of expenditures to

monitor.

7


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County Information Program

State and Local Mental Health Partnership

By Tim Brown, Senior Analyst, County Information Program and

Laura Nicholes, Legislative Liaison

Local Mental Health Authority Service Area

July 2007

Questions:

• What was the county’s total financial support to the Local

Mental Health Authority?

• What was the total value of in-kind contributions made to the

Local Mental Health Authority?

• If you provided an amount on the previous question, please

include a brief description of the in-kind contributions made

to your Local Mental Health Authority (community mental

health center)?

The Texas Medical Association estimates that

more than 4.3 million individuals, including 1.2

million children, live with some form of mental

health disorder in Texas. That number includes

1.5 million Texans who cannot function at work,

school, or in the community due to their illness. Until recently,

reduced state funding had eroded Texas’ ability to care for

patients with mental disorders. As a result, these patients, both

insured and uninsured alike, often sought care in hospital

emergency rooms, and the states’ prison and jail systems

became warehouses for mentally ill patients waiting for a

psychiatric bed or community help to become available.

El Paso

Hudspeth

Culberson

Jeff Davis

Presidio

Dallam

Hartley

Oldham

Deaf Smith

Parmer

Castro

Sherman

Moore

Potter

Randall

Swisher

Hansford

HutchinsonRoberts

Carson

Armstrong

Briscoe

Ochiltree

Gray

Donley

Hall

Lipscomb

Hemphill

Collingsworth

Childress

Hardeman

Bailey Lamb Hale Floyd Motley Cottle Wilbarger

Foard

Wichita

Clay

Lamar

Cochran Hockley

Montague

Baylor Archer

Cooke

Grayson

Red River

Lubbock Crosby Dickens King Knox

Fannin

Bowie

Delta

Franklin

Denton Collin Hopkins

Titus

Yoakum

Terry

Jack

Morris

Lynn Garza Kent Stonewall Haskell

Throckmorton

Wise

Cass

Young

Hunt

Camp

Rockwall Rains

Marion

Dallas

Gaines

Stephens

Wood

Dawson Borden Scurry Fisher Jones

Palo Pinto

Parker Tarrant

Upshur

Shackleford

Harrison

Kaufman

Van

Zandt

Gregg

Eastland

Hood Johnson Ellis

Smith

Andrews

Martin

Howard Mitchell Nolan Taylor Callahan

Erath Somervell

Henderson Rusk Panola

Hill

Navarro

Cherokee

Loving

Coke

Bosque

Shelby

Winkler Ector Midland Glasscock

Comanche

Anderson

Sterling

Runnels Coleman Brown

Hamilton

Freestone

NacogdochesSan

Ward

Limestone

Crane

Mills

McLennan

Angelina

Augustine

Tom

Reeves

Upton Reagan

Concho

Coryell

Leon Houston

Sabine

Irion Green

McCulloch

Falls

Lampasas

Newton

San Saba

Trinity

Bell Robertson Madison

Jasper

Polk Tyler

Pecos

Schleicher Menard

Burnet

Milam

Walker

Crockett

Mason Llano

Brazos

San

Williamson

Grimes

Burleson

Jacinto

Sutton Kimble

Montgomery

Hardin

Gillespie Blanco

Lee

Terrell

Travis

Washington

Liberty Orange

Hays

Bastrop

Kerr

Jefferson

Edwards

Kendall

Austin

Val Verde

Waller Harris

Brewster

Comal Caldwell Fayette

Real

Chambers

Bandera

Colorado

Fort Bend

Bexar

Guadalupe Gonzales

Lavaca

Galveston

Galveston

Kinney Uvalde Medina

Wharton

Brazoria

Wilson

De Witt

Frio Atascosa Karnes

Jackson Matagorda

Zavala

Maverick

Victoria

Goliad

Calhoun

Dimmit La Salle McMullen Bee Refugio

Live Oak

Aransas

Local Mental Health Authority

Community Center

Wheeler

Webb

Zapata

Duval

Jim Hogg

Starr

Jim

Wells

Brooks

Hidalgo

San Patricio

Nueces

Kleberg

Kenedy

Willacy

Cameron

More recently, the state legislature found the means to increase

state funding during the 83rd legislative session.

BACKGROUND:

In 1965, the Texas Legislature passed the Texas Mental

Health and Mental Retardation Act, which established the

Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation

(MHMR) and authorized local entities to assume responsibility

for the administration of MHMR services. At the time, more

than 50 percent of funding for the new local centers came from

the federal government.

Now, there are 39 local MHMR centers, also called Community

Centers or Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHAs), in Texas.

The centers provide services in all 254 counties to residents

who have serious and persistent mental illnesses, intellectual

and developmental disabilities or substance use disorders. As

units of local government, each center operates with its own

governing board representing local entities such as counties,

cities, hospital districts and school districts.

LMHAs receive funding from the state and other sources. The

2007 and 2009 Legislatures appropriated millions of dollars

each biennium toward redesigning the way mental health crisis

services are delivered at the local level. More recently, in 2013,

the 83rd Legislature increased state spending by $300 million

in mental health and substance abuse funding over the 2014-15

biennium for a total of approximately $6.6 billion – this amount

includes about $3 billion from federal funds. These funds were

targeted at many different aspects of behavioral health.

In March of 2016, the Senate’s chief budget writer and former

Health and Human Services Committee chairwoman, state

Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said that Texas had invested

“significant resources” in mental health care in recent years.

According to her office, public expenditures on mental health

care grew by $192 million from the 2013 legislative session to the

2015 session. Include mental health spending from Medicaid,

the joint state-federal insurance program for the poor and

disabled, and total spending was up $483 million, she said.

Part of that increased spending, $5 million a year for the fiscal

year 2014-15 biennium, funded Senate Bill 1185 by Sen. Joan

Huffman, R-Houston. S.B 1185 created a four-year jail diversion

pilot program for the mentally ill in Harris County to develop

effective methods to substantially reduce recidivism. As the bill

analysis for S.B. 1185 notes, “The criminal justice system is the

8


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most expensive and least effective way to treat mental illness

and stop the repeated arrests of those with mental health

diagnoses through evidence-based intervention strategies.

Community-based mental health services are much less costly

and more successful at treating the underlying symptoms

that often are responsible for recurrent incarceration of the

mentally ill.”

In addition to state funding, counties, at their own discretion,

may provide funds directly to the LMHAs as budgets allow.

Naturally, this discretionary funding to local centers varies

from year to year as

80,000,000

county revenues and

budgets rise and fall. As

70,000,000

of fiscal year 2011, local

funds accounted for 13

60,000,000

percent of total LMHA

funding.

50,000,000

The following chart

shows the amount

of funding by local

governmental entity

type using information

provided by the Texas

Council of Community

Centers.

40,000,000

30,000,000

20,000,000

10,000,000

0

However, even with

discretionary county

funding, sufficient

space in the state’s

mental health hospitals

simply does not exist.

In 2015, the Sunset

Advisory Commission

determined, “State mental health hospitals do not have

the capacity to meet the demand for inpatient psychiatric

beds, and available beds in both DSHS-operated hospitals

and contracted facilities are not keeping pace with Texas’

population growth.”

The Commission found that between 2001 and 2013, bed

capacity decreased by 19 percent from 13.4 to 10.9 beds per

100,000 residents. Further, they stated, “Recent projections

indicate the system will need to add roughly 17 beds annually

to keep pace with current utilization trends, a figure that

does not account for existing waiting lists for system beds.”

And the Texas Tribune reported on May 1, 2016 that there

were approximately 400 people on the waiting list.

IMPACT ON COUNTIES:

A commitment to a state hospital by a criminal court is known

as a “forensic commitment.” Unfortunately, the number of

forensic commitments often exceeds the number of forensic

beds, and defendants are forced to wait in the county jails –

often for periods of months – until a bed becomes available.

Local Taxing Authority Investment

City Country Other (eg. Hospital District) Total Local Taxing

Authority Investment

FY 2009 $2,858,986 $50,450,717 $5,069,887 $58,379,590

FY 2010 $4,775,123 $51,915,530 $7,122,817 $63,813,470

FY 2011 $5,377,085 $48,392,672 $15,088,323 $68,975,503

FY 2012 $5,925,356 $51,860,573 $11,167,093 $68,953,022

FY 2013 $5,312,970 $53,806,917 $11,057,638 $70,177,525

FY 2014 $5,514,583 $57,673,184 $9,839,880 $73,027,647

Back in 2007, hundreds

of mentally ill inmates

languished in county

jails. A lawsuit was

filed and a state judge

subsequently ordered

the state to reduce wait

times for the criminally

insane to no more

than 21 days. But, the

ruling was first stayed

and later dismissed

in May 2014. Prior

to the dismissal, the

average wait time for

incompetent to stand

trial forensic patients

to be admitted to the

system decreased from

77 to 17 days between

fiscal years 2011 and

2013.

By April 1, 2016,

however, the average

wait time for a maximum security bed, reserved for those

charged with serious violent crimes, was 122 days, according

to the Department of State Health Services.

FY 2009 FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014

As the historically low state funding for mental health

resulted in a lack of sufficient room (i.e., beds) at state

hospitals, the Harris County jail became the de facto largest

state mental hospital in Texas. Harris County identified

18,679 people with mental health service needs incarcerated

in its criminal justice facilities during 2012.

940

101

1.0

0.8

0.6

855

200

9

0.4


County

Expenditures

Survey

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County Information Program

State and Local Mental Health Partnership (continued)

Additionally, at any given time in the Harris County jail, more

than 2,100 people are receiving prescribed psychotropic

medication. This group represents about one-quarter of

the total jail population. As of Sept. 1, 2016 Harris County

housed 8,953 inmates – more than 100 fewer than the 9,059

residing in the jail on September 1, 2015.

However, as the bill analysis to Senate Bill 1185 noted,

“the issue of increasing numbers of mentally ill inmates

incarcerated within the criminal justice system does not exist

solely in Harris County. Texas does not have an effective

service model to treat people with mental health needs

who frequently cycle through the county jails and the Texas

Department of Criminal Justice.”

In 2015, S.B. 1507 by senators Sylvia Garcia, D-Palito

Blanco, and José Rodriguez, D-El Paso, was passed in the

84th Legislature; it directs the Department of State Health

Services to appoint a Forensic Director to coordinate and

oversee the needs, services and allocation of forensic beds

for the mentally ill in the criminal justice system. In addition,

the commissioner of state health services, as required by

S.B. 1507, has established a forensic workgroup of experts

and stakeholders (including county officials and county

organizations) to develop recommendations addressing

the issues with the delivery of forensic services throughout

the state, including adequate availability of maximum

security beds, wait times in county jails for inmates requiring

competency restoration services, and adequate civil beds

for those without criminal charges or who could be diverted

from the justice system.

SURVEY RESULTS

On previous County Expenditures Survey, we asked counties,

“What was the county’s total financial support to the local

Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MHMR) centers?” For

the 2016 survey, we asked three questions in an attempt to

obtain more detail about counties supports of MHMR centers

(LMHAs).

• What was the county’s total financial support to the

Local Mental Health Authority? (Do not include the

value of in-kind contributions for this question. Do not

include payments from separate contracts for jail inmate

services.)

• What was the total value of in-kind contributions made

to the Local Mental Health Authority?

• If you provided an amount on the previous question,

please include a brief description of the in-kind

contributions made to your Local Mental Health

Authority (community mental health center)?

The responding counties provided the following information

Number of Counties 54 54

FY of Expenditures 2014 2015

Total Expenditures $28,676,359.20 $27,525,46.16

Average Expenditures $531,043.69 $509,726.78

Standard Deviation $2,875,449.11 $2,713,927.14

on expenditures (not counting in-kind contributions):

Due to the great deal of variation among the counties

providing this data, standard deviation greatly exceeded

the average in each year. Its usefulness, however, derives

from how clearly it denotes why it is impossible to pick out a

County Pop., 2015 2014 2015

Dallas 2,553,385 $5,607,676 $5,621,176

Jefferson 254,308 $395,889 $395,889

Harrison 66,746 $32,000 $64,000

DeWitt 20,797 $15,000 $37,198

Childress 7,088 $8,350 $8,350

“typical” county. With that caveat in mind, expenditures from

the following counties are presented as examples only.

The population estimates are from the U.S. Census Bureau.

10


County Information Program

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County

Expenditures

Survey

Expenditures from prior years are not included because of

the change in the way the question was asked on prior county

expenditure surveys.

As with most county budget items, these discretionary

expenditures were subject to sudden changes from year to

year. For example, expenditures in Harrison County doubled

from 2014 to 2015 and increased by 148 percent in DeWitt.

Yet Dallas County saw little change in its expenditures while

LMHA support remained constant in both Childress and

Jefferson during this two year period.

Number of Counties 40 41

FY of Expenditures 2014 2015

Total Expenditures $507,980.29 $572,204.20

Average Expenditures $12,699.51 $13,956.20

Standard Deviation $40,432,24 $40,664.68

As the following table shows, the value of the in-kind

contributions tended to be significantly lower than the

monetary contributions made by the counties.

Unfortunately, although a description of the in-kind

contributions was requested, most counties skipped this question

on the survey. Those that responded primarily provided office

space (6 counties) or helped with office supplies, rent and/

or utilities (3 counties). Other types of contributions included

transportation for patients and space for patients.

Number of Counties 37 38

FY of Expenditures 2014 2015

Total Expenditures $207,851.29 $272,075.20

Average Expenditures $5,617.60 $7,159.87

Standard Deviation $15,031.08 $17,457.80

Three counties described their in-kind contributions as

monetary contributions or inter-governmental transfers.

Excluding the responses for counties that described their

contributions as financial contributions or transfers makes a

significant difference as shown in the last table.

The survey also asked counties about any contracts between

the county jail and their LMHA.

• Does your county jail have a separate contract with the

Local Mental Health

Authority (LMHA) FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR LOCAL LMHAS

(community mental

health center) for

services provided

$8,350 (’14) $8,350 (’15)

specifically to jail

inmates?

Childress County

• If you answered

pop. 7,088

yes on the previous

question, what was

$5,621,176 (’15)

the amount ($)?

$5,607,676 (’14)

• If you provided

an amount on the

previous question,

Dallas County

pop. 2,553,385

please provide a

brief description

or example of the

$37,198 (’15)

service included in

the contract.

$15,000 (’14)

Fifteen counties

Dewitt County

pop. 20,797

confirmed that they have

a separate contract with

the LMHA for services

provided specifically to

$64,000 (’15)

inmates in the county jail

– this is separate and in

$32,000 (’14)

Harrison County

pop. 66,746

addition to the financial

allocations provided by

commissioners courts

toward the support of

$395,889 (’14) $395,889 (’15)

the LMHA. The total

value of these contracts

Jefferson County

increased from $2.4

pop. 254,308

million in fiscal year 2014

to $2.7 million in fiscal

year 2015, a 10.4 percent increase.

Individually, seven counties provided contractual amounts

ranging from about $2,000 each in Dawson and Baylor

11


County

Expenditures

Survey

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County Information Program

State and Local Mental Health Partnership (continued)

counties to over $2 million in Tarrant County. Tarrant

County actually reported a decrease of 2.7 percent from fiscal

year 2014 to fiscal year 2015. At the same time, many other

counties experienced an increase in expenditures for these

contracts. For example, Bell County increased its jail mental

health contract from roughly $67,000 to $354,000 between

fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2015. Likewise, Harrison County

doubled its contracted amount from $27,000 to $54,000.

Eight of the responding counties were unable to determine a

financial amount for services to inmates but did describe the

types of services provided, including psychiatric evaluations

and transportation to hospitals.

CONCLUSION:

The 2014 County Expenditure Survey concluded that,

“Texas currently lacks the infrastructure to deal with the

growing number of adults and children who need mental

health services.” While some gains have been made in the

intervening two years, that conclusion still stands. County

jails remain de facto mental health hospitals and will

continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

7

Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, 18.

8

Edgar Walters, “State Spending More on Mental Health Care, but Waitlist for Beds

Grows,” The Texas Tribune, May 1, 2016, accessed June 1, 2016 at https://www.texastribune.

org/2016/05/01/despite-state-spending-dearth-pysch-hospital-beds/.

9

Jones, 5.

10

Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, 19.

11

“Mentally ill languish in Texas jails due to lack of beds at hospitals,” Austin American-

Statesman, April 23, 2016, accessed June 1, 2016, http://www.statesman.com/news/news/

state-regional/mentally-ill-languish-in-texas-jails-due-to-lack-o/nq95Q/.

12

Amanda Jones, Mental Health Services in Texas: Reforming a Crisis-driven System, MS

PowerPoint presentation accessed September 29, 2014 at http://www.onevoicetexas.

org/13-Mental%20Health%20Services%20in%20TX-%20Reforming%20a%20Crisis%20

Driven%20System.pdf.

13

Texas Commission on Jail Standards, Abbreviated Population Report for May 1, 2016, accessed

May 26, 2016 at http://www.tcjs.state.tx.us/docs/AbbreRptCurrent.pdf.

14

Texas Commission on Jail Standards, Abbreviated Population Report for May 1, 2012,

accessed May 26, 2016 at http://www.tcjs.state.tx.us/docs/AbbreviatedPopReports/

Abbreviated%20Pop%20Rpt%20May%202012.pdf.

15

Senate Research Center.

Individuals with mental illness should get the help they need

before ending up in the criminal justice system instead of

depending on the criminal justice system to provide the

help they need. Unfortunately, the state has far less capacity

than is needed, particularly in forensic beds, and the state’s

growing population will only exacerbate that problem in the

future. Therefore, it is imperative that legislators continue to

address the need for greater state funding.

_____________________

1

“Mental Health Funding,” Texas Medical Association, accessed May 26, 2016, http://www.

texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=6491

2

Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, Interim Report to the 84th

Legislature, December 2014, 9-14. Accessed May 26, 2016 at http://www.senate.state.

tx.us/75r/senate/commit/c610/downloads/c610.InterimReport84th.pdf.

3

Walters.

4

Senate Research Center, Bill Analysis of Senate Bill 1185, 83rd Regular Session, 2013 (Huffman

et al.), July 19, 2013. Accessed May 26, 2016 at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/

analysis/html/SB01185F.htm.

5

Public Consulting Group, Analysis of the Texas Public Behavioral Health System: Report to the

State of Texas Health and Human Services Commission and Department of State Health Services,

June, 2012, p9 in Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, Interim Report

to the 83rd Legislature, December 2012, 96.

6

Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, Department of State Health Services: Sunset Staff Report

with Final Results (July 2015) 18, accessed June 1, 2016, https://www.sunset.texas.gov/

public/uploads/DSHS%20Final%20Results.pdf.

12


County Information Program

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County

Expenditures

Survey

County Technology Costs

By Ender Reed, Legislative Liaison

Question: What were your total county information technology

expenditures including website, cyber security, hardware,

software and personnel?

BACKGROUND:

This survey question is key to better understanding technology

expenditures and the future of county government in Texas.

As the population grows and demands for services increase,

one of the most efficient ways for counties to meet these new

challenges is to take advantage of the opportunities that can

be created by using technology. Some of the opportunities

presented by information technology include improved

information security, cost savings and improved service delivery.

However, at the same time as information technology presents

many opportunities it presents a number of challenges as well.

Some of these challenges include increased implementation

costs, maintenance costs, personnel challenges and

cybersecurity challenges.

CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITES:

Of these challenges,

cybersecurity issues

and the challenge of

finding and keeping

information technology

personnel stand out

as long-term and

severe impediments

to counties taking

full advantage of

the opportunities

of information

technology.

There are an estimated

300,000 cybersecurity jobs vacant in the United States. The

private sector is facing an increasing and unprecedented

amount of cybersecurity threats. It is very difficult for counties

to compete with the salaries that the private sector can provide

to qualified IT professionals. The cost of securing information

and attracting the personnel needed to run information

technology systems will be an enduring challenge to counties as

they become more reliant on information technology.

Cybersecurity attacks are coming from a dizzying array of actors

including hacktivists, organized crime, state-sponsored agents

and individuals. Governments have tempting, sensitive data and

personal information that is very appealing to these groups and

individuals.

SURVEY RESULTS:

• As a group, the responding counties saw a 12.1 percent

increase in information technology expenses. This

is similar to the 10.1 percent growth in information

technology that counties experienced from fiscal year

2013 to fiscal year 2014. This question seem to be popular

among counties, and had one of the highest response rates.

• Counties in the small population bracket, 10,001 to

25,000, once again had expenditures that were fairly low.

However, these costs will increase as the state and federal

government continue to hand down regulations that cause

smaller counties to implement the same information

technology changes that larger counties are implementing.

Smaller counties have less available capacity to implement

them, but regulations are coming from the FBI, IRS,

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPA),

and the National Institute of Standards and Technology

(NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, just to name a few.

• Counties in the population of brackets of 25,001 to 100,000

and 100,001 to 1 million shown similar results.

Both population brackets seem to have the greatest cost

challenges as they try to implement new systems and face

down new mandates to use technology. Sometimes, the

promised cost savings of implementing new systems are not

seen until years later, or the savings need to be amortized

in order to understand the true cost of implementing new

information technology systems.

Surprisingly, Denton County with a population size of

under a million, indicated it had spent roughly one million

dollars in fiscal year 2014 compared to $1.2 million in

fiscal year 2015. This may be largely due to the growth that

Denton County has experienced.

• As expected, several of the largest counties—those in the

population bracket of more than a million—saw significant

increases in information technology costs. For instance,

Harris County reported a substantial increase of over

$525,000 from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015. Given

the scale of services being provided by these counties, the

increases may be offset by decreases in other costs.

13


County

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Survey

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County Information Program

County Technology Costs (continued)

With the same population bracket, both Dallas and

Tarrant Counties spent far less than Harris County

in fiscal years 2014-15. Dallas County spent less than

$500,000 in both years, while Tarrant County spent less

than $200,000 for the same period. Bexar County didn’t

respond to this particular question.

CONCLUSION:

In comparing the two surveyed fiscal years, a significant

number of counties that responded to this question have

shown a considerable cost increase in fiscal year 2015 over

fiscal year 2014. Given the available data of only two years - a

reasonable trend cannot be determined. However the data

may suggest that as technology increase so will the cost,

especially if counties continue to stay current and up to date

with the demanding changes in the area of technology.

14


County Information Program

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County

Expenditures

Survey

Will Juvenile Probation Costs Continue to Trend Higher?

By Laura Nicholes, Legislative Liaison

Question: What were the county’s total expenditures for the

juvenile probation department (do not include grant money or

state appropriations)?

BACKGROUND:

Juvenile probation services are administered at the local level

and must adhere to standards set by the state that

address constitutional protections and the wellbeing

of juveniles, as well as the safety of those

working with juveniles. Administered locally, with

state oversight, and funded by a combination of

both state appropriations and local funds. Various

grant opportunities also exist to provide a third

source of funding for juvenile probation.

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD)

website acknowledges that the backbone of

the juvenile justice system is county probation

departments and courts, as they handle most of the

sanctions and therapeutic interventions the courts

may impose.

State reforms in 1995 came with a mandate that

county governments fund local juvenile probation

departments at a minimum with the amount

they provided in 1994. In 2006 that floor-level mandate was

increased to the amount appropriated in 2006 – county support

may increase or decrease according to the county’s available

resources and other local demands, but it cannot dip below the

amount funded in 2006.

In 2007 and 2008, county juvenile probation departments

experienced a loss in Federal Title IV-E Foster Care

administrative grant funding and struggled to fill

unanticipated gaps in their budgets. Also in 2007, the Texas

Legislature prohibited juvenile misdemeanor offenders

from being placed in the Texas Youth Commission (TYC).

As a result, juvenile probation caseloads and county funding

requirements increased. In 2009, the Legislature directed

juvenile departments to further curb the number of offenders

committed to TYC by supervising them and providing them

treatment in their home communities. (It should be noted

that the Legislature provided grant funding for counties

demonstrating a plan for new treatment and rehabilitative

“TYC diversion” programs).

Statewide, approximately

70 percent of funding

for juvenile departments

currently comes from

county general funds.

In 2015, Senate Bill 1630 was passed into law. It seeks to provide

regionalized probation services to juveniles in an effort to

keep them closer to their home communities while limiting

commitment to secure, state run TJJD facilities to youth with a

determinate sentence (those convicted of certain felonies and

the possibility of transfer to the adult prison system). It stands

to reason, if fewer youth are committed to state incarceration,

more will be served in the county system. This comes with a

price tag for local programming — which tends

to be more successful than programs provided in

state incarceration facilities — for a higher-risk

offender with greater needs.

Statewide, approximately 70 percent of funding

for juvenile departments currently comes from

county general funds.

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD)

reported in 2014 that 54 percent of new

admissions to state run facilities had a need

for treatment by a licensed or specially trained

provider for a mental health related issue. In an

early 2016 legislative hearing, the TJJD estimated

that 83 percent of the juveniles in the system

require multiple specialized treatments, including

mental health, alcohol and drug abuse, capital

or serious violent offender needs and the sexual

behavior treatment programs.

The House Select Committee on Mental Health received

testimony from TJJD Executive Director David Reilly, who

outlined the two sides of the agency – state incarceration and

local probation services. Reilly said TJJD oversees operations at

five state secure correctional facilities (formerly TYC facilities),

eight half-way houses, and parole services in addition to

probation programming and funding for the 166 local juvenile

probation departments – which serve about 98 percent of

juveniles in the justice system.

Reilly provided a few statistics about the youth coming to TJJD.

He noted that about 70 percent have been placed out of the

home at least one time by the local probation departments,

while 40 percent of the kids committed by the local courts

have had a confirmed history of abuse or neglect. He went

on to say that in the last year and a half there has been an

increase in violent crime in Texas. In 2015, there were about

60,000 juveniles referred to local probation departments, 829

of them were committed by the courts to the state (only about

15


County

Expenditures

Survey

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County Information Program

Will Juvenile Probation Costs Continue to Trend Higher? (continued)

1.5 percent), and currently there are about 1,200 incarcerated

juveniles and the rest are being served through local juvenile

probation departments.

The costs associated with providing the best quality of

preventative and rehabilitative services to today’s youthful

offenders is ever increasing. Let’s look at the numbers provided

to the 2015 County Expenditure Survey.

$4,676,508 (’12)

$154,316 (’12)

$168,758 (’12)

$4,769,750 (’13)

$153,618 (’13)

$8,958 (’14)

$102,163 (’12)

$159,698 (’13)

$4,971,252 (’14)

Montgomery County

pop. 537,559

$208,383 (’14)

$5,269,017 (’15)

$185,142 (’15)

Cooke County

pop. 39,229

Childress County

pop. 7,088

$180,465 (’14)

$172,542 (’14)

$85,474 (’13)

$45,986 (’15)

$270,118 (’15)

Ward County

pop. 11,721

$133,349 (’15)

Kendall County

pop. 40,384

SURVEY RESULTS:

What were the county’s

total expenditures for

the juvenile probation

department (do not

include grant money or

state appropriations)?

A pattern of increased

county taxpayer

funding of local juvenile

probation departments

has been established as a

result of policymaking at

the statewide level.

On the 2014 County

Expenditure Survey,

82 counties reported

spending $119.2 million

on the operations of

juvenile probation

departments in 2012.

On the same survey,

83 counties reported

expenditures of $127.3

million for juvenile

probation in 2013.

Although this represents

an increase of more than

$8 million dollars in

one year, $2.9 million of

that increase occurred

in Ector County which

was unable to provide

their 2012 data. Thus, 82 of the 254 counties in Texas increased

expenditures on juvenile probation by $5.1 million in a single

year.

The 2015 County Expenditure Survey shows a similar trend with

66 counties reporting an increase of 4.4 percent on juvenile

probation funding from$130.5 million in 2014 to $136.1 million

in 2015 – that’s another increase of more than $5.6 million in a

single year for 66 of the 254 counties in Texas!

While three of the Largest counties, “Bracket A”, increased

spending by $1.9 million, twelve Large Counties in “Bracket

B” increased by over $3.6 million. Eighteen Small counties in

“Bracket D” increased by $314,589 and twelve Smallest counties

in “Bracket E” increased by $52,259.

“Bracket C”, Middle sized counties, was the only bracket to

report a decreased amount of juvenile probation funding for

the twenty one reporting counties – down by $274,411 between

years 2014-2015.

A few notable counties with reported increases or decreases are:

• Childress – increased its funding from $9,000 to $45,000.

• Montgomery – increased $3 million from $49 million to

$52 million.

• Ward – increased financial support from $180,000 –

$270,000 and reported the primary factor for the increase

as detention costs.

• Denton – increased its allocations by $1.4 million providing

explanations that actual local detention costs are up by

about $100,000; post adjudication costs are up by about

$500,000; direct care – institutional care (including long

term treatment) costs are up approximately $400,000; in

addition, Denton County has also recently expanded its

juvenile detention center.

• Cooke – down from $208,000 to $185,009.

• Kendall – decreased support by almost $40,000 going from

$172,000 to $133,000.

• Young – decrease support by $25,000.

• Jasper – reported a $41,000 decrease in funding to their

local juvenile probation department.

CONCLUSION:

As the 85th Texas Legislature convenes, there will again be a

focus on the statewide budget and initiatives that will impact

county expenditures for juvenile justice, county government,

the courts, jails, detention centers and local service delivery

systems. As is the established pattern, savings to the state coffers

means increased burdens in the county coffers.

16


County Information Program

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County

Expenditures

Survey

The state’s regionalization plan for adjudicated youth

(S.B. 1630) will impact local funding formulas from the state’s

budget, and the new service plans will be monitored for local

fiscal impact leading up to and during the 2017 legislative

session.

Another initiative back on the table for the 85th Session is

raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years

of age. Should the state decide to raise the age and place

17 year olds under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice

system, there will be a shift in caseloads from criminal district

courts to juvenile courts and a shift from adult probation

caseloads to juvenile probation caseloads. An increase in

caseloads and population in juvenile detention facilities would

require additional staffing and an anticipated higher level

of supervision, treatment and diversion programs for older

defendants. However, raising the age of jurisdiction from

17 to 18 years old could have a positive effect on logistics of

county jail operations. It would alleviate some of the challenges

presented by housing and providing a greater level of services to

a population of inmates that the Texas Family Code and federal

codes still require to be accommodated as juveniles.

17


County

Expenditures

Survey

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County Information Program

County Fuel Costs

By Tim Brown, Senior Analyst, County Information Program

Question: What were your total county fuel costs?

BACKGROUND:

In 2008, a sudden spike in gas prices increased awareness of

how much the costs of county services often depend on the cost

of commodities like oil. In addition, the oil boom that hit many

parts of Texas beginning in 2009 made many people aware

of how even apparently good news can cause havoc, as many

rural counties struggled to increase or even maintain existing

services to meet the boom economy demands throughout the

oil producing regions of the state. More recently, the ongoing

drop in oil prices, which began in 2014, created a new set of

problems for many counties.

The Oil Bust

CPI shows relatively small, though consistent, annual increases

on the chart, by 2015 it had climbed 28.8 percent from 2003.

The chart reveals much less consistent changes in the cost

of asphalt which can be up strongly in some years and down

just as strongly in others. One takeaway from the chart is that

while CPI only increased by 28.8 percent from 2003 to 2015,

PPI-Asphalt increased 132.1 percent over the same time period

even taking into consideration the significant drop in price

during 2015.

300

250

200

PPI-ASPHALT COMPARED TO CPI-ALL ITEMS 2003-2015

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics

While the recent drop in crude oil prices benefited counties

to some extent by making refined petroleum and construction

equipment cheaper to purchase and operate, the drop also

resulted in a significant decrease in appraisal values, and reduced

economic activity in the petroleum producing counties. And,

counties that increased their budgets to cover the costs associated

with the oil boom found themselves still funding those additional

services. For example, La Salle County, which used only

volunteer fire departments until 2013, now has a fire and rescue

department with 22 full-time staff, 25 part-timers, new vehicles,

and a new fire station. “And even if the oil workers never come

back, the dramatic improvement in La Salle County’s emergency

response is here to stay, officials say.”

Inflated Commodity Prices

While the price of petroleum products decreased from their

highs, many related county costs continue

to be much higher than in prior years.

The following chart compares changes

in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to

the Producer Price Index for Asphalt

(PPI-Asphalt). The full Producer Price

Index (PPI) tracks many of the items

that counties purchase like asphalt and

concrete; PPI-Asphalt tracks only changes

in the price of asphalt. CPI, often used as

a measure of inflation, tracks many types

of items purchased by consumers like

bread, milk and gasoline.

150

100

50

0

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

IMPACT ON COUNTIES:

PPI: 132.1%

CPI: 28.8%

PPI - Asphalt At Refinery CPI- All Items

To find out how much counties have been spending on fuel,

on the 2016 County Expenditure Survey we asked them, for

fiscal years 2014 and 2015, “What are your total county fuel

costs?” Since this question was also asked on the previous

survey, covering fiscal year 2012 and fiscal year 2013, that data is

included in the following table.

Number of Counties 83 83 63 63

2014 2015

FY of Expenditures 2012 2013 2014 2015

Total Expenditures $65,602,484.17 $62,749,408.11 $60,201,127.24 $48,397,683.09

Average Expenditures $790,391.38 $756,016.97 $955,573.45 $768,217.19

Standard Deviation $2,750,360.75 $2,532,427.45 $3,181,527.76 $2,907,356.68

18


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County

Expenditures

Survey

8.3

Since reporting from counties can vary greatly from survey to

survey, the next chart shows 6.4 average expenditures for only those

counties that provided data for all four years, 2012 through 2015.

5.3

Average Fuel Costs in Counties Grouped

by Population

6.8

Bracket

< 10,000

10,001 - 25,000

25,001 - 100,000

100,001 - 1 Million

>1 Million

Includes only those counties

for which we have data for

the period 2012 to 2015..

While overall fuel costs decreased for counties, these costs did

not fall as much as the price of crude oil fell. Clearly, other

factors, such as increased demands for services, kept county fuel

costs elevated.

CONCLUSION:

The variability in fuel costs demonstrates that counties are not

always in complete control of their budgets. Unlike business

managers, county officials do not have the luxury of shifting

resources to maximize returns or dropping unprofitable

projects. The need to meet certain requirements, whether

mandated by law or by the will of the local residents, puts

a floor on county service requirements. While that floor

constantly rises in conjunction with demands for increased

services, fuel costs and other cost drivers continue to increase

the unit costs associated with providing those services. The

combination of increased demand and increased unit prices

inevitably results in budget growth.

$10,000

$100,000 $1,000,000 $10,000,000 $100,000,000

_____________________

2015 2014 2013 2012

The counties have been grouped by population bracket as

indicated on the left side of the chart. Note that this chart

begins at $10,000 rather than $0 for the left axis. This slightly

magnifies the apparent differences in the bars. In addition,

the horizontal axis uses a logarithmic scale increasing by one

order of magnitude per vertical line as it moves to the right.

The logarithmic scale tends to minimize the differences in bar

length, but it also allows us to include all population brackets

on the same chart and still be able to see the differences within

each group.

Therefore, rather than paying attention to the relative

differences in bar lengths between the different groups,

focus on the fluctuations within each group. For example,

for counties under 10,000 population the average increased

in both 2014 and 2015, and then decreased sharply in 2015 as

would be expected given the drop in oil prices. In the 100,001

to 1 million bracket, however, the average cost peaked in 2012

before decreasing each succeeding year. In contrast, fuel costs

decreased for the largest counties in 2013, then peaked in 2014

before falling in 2015.

1

Jim Malewitz. “Oil Price Impact: In South Texas County, an Investment in Survival.” Fort

Worth Business. March 31, 2016, accessed May 17, 2016, http://www.fortworthbusiness.com/

news/oil-price-impact-in-south-texas-county-an-investment-in/article_28e1a9f0-f768-11e5-

9597-b311a9a26556.html

Rainy Day Fund, Historic and Projected Balances

10,000,000,000

8,000,000,000

6,000,000,000

4,000,000,000

2,000,000,000

0

$8,468,905,380

$9,679,273,448

$10,397,209,577

FY 2015 FY 2016 EST. FY 2017 EST.

Sources: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and the Legislative Budget Board

19


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County Fuel Costs (continued)

$3.50

$3.00

$2.50

$2.00

ANNUAL GASOLINE AND DIESEL PRICES IN GULF COAST STATES

IN 2003 DOLLARS

From the U.S. Energy Information Agency

Gasoline: 78.9%

Diesel: 108.5%

$1.50

$1.00

$0.50

$0.00

Gulf Coast Includes: Alabama, Arkansas,

Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas.

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

2014 2015

Retail Gasoline - Adjusted for Inflation Diesel - Adjusted for Inflation

20


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County

Expenditures

Survey

Volunteer Fire Department

By Bruce Barr, County GIS Analyst

Question: What are the total expenditures for volunteer fire

departments in your county?

TAC County Expenditure Survey ESDs and Cities

In Texas, VFDs are financially supported in a variety of ways,

including by funds raised in a city, town, county, fire district,

or other governmental entity, as well as corporate and other

private donations, federal grants, and other assistance from

auxiliary members, or firefighters’ associations.

Emergency Service District vs VFD

An Emergency Services District (ESD) is a political subdivision

of the State of Texas with limited taxing authority. Depending

on the ESD’s creation documents, an ESD can provide fire

protection, emergency medical services or both. Ninety-two

counties have at least one ESD.

Many VFDs are part of – and funded by – an ESD. Those VFDs

that aren’t part of an ESD or a city are almost always largely

funded by the county, even if it’s by assisting VFDs in meeting

state and federal grant matching requirements or insurance.

TAC County Expenditure Survey Population Change

Unincorporated County

Dallam

Hartley

Sherman Hansford Ochiltree Lipscomb

Moore HutchinsonRoberts

Hemphill

Oldham

Potter

Carson

Gray

Wheeler

Deaf Smith Randall Armstrong Donley Collingsworth

Parmer Castro Swisher Briscoe Hall Childress

BACKGROUND:

According to the Texas Department of Insurance 2014 annual

fire statistics report Fires in Texas, there were 72,124 fires in

2014 resulting in nearly 663 million dollars in property damage.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that at least 69

percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers, and

more than 75 percent of Texas firefighters are members of a

volunteer fire department (VFD).

A VFD may be responsible for responding to structure fires as

well as wildfires and automobile fires, both accidentally and

intentionally set. Because it may be the only emergency services

Source: 2015, Texas State Association of Fire and Emergency Districts

department for some distance, a rural VFD may also include

other first responders, like emergency medical technicians,

hazardous materials handlers and other specially qualified

personnel.

El Paso

Hudspeth

Culberson

Jeff Davis

Presidio

SUMMARY:

Hardeman

Bailey Lamb Hale Floyd Motley Cottle Wilbarger

Foard

Wichita

Clay

Lamar

Cochran Hockley

Montague

Baylor Archer

Cooke

Grayson

Red River

Lubbock Crosby Dickens King Knox

Fannin

Bowie

Delta

Franklin

Denton Collin Hopkins

Titus

Yoakum

Terry

Jack

Morris

Lynn Garza Kent Stonewall Haskell

Throckmorton

Wise

Cass

Young

Hunt

Camp

Rockwall Rains

Marion

Dallas

Gaines

Stephens

Wood

Dawson Borden Scurry Fisher Jones

Palo Pinto

Parker Tarrant

Upshur

Shackleford

Harrison

Kaufman

Van

Zandt

Gregg

Eastland

Hood Johnson Ellis

Smith

Andrews

Martin

Howard Mitchell Nolan Taylor Callahan

Erath Somervell

Henderson Rusk Panola

Hill

Navarro

Cherokee

Loving

Coke

Bosque

Shelby

Winkler Ector Midland Glasscock

Comanche

Anderson

Sterling

Runnels Coleman Brown

Hamilton

Freestone

NacogdochesSan

Ward

Limestone

Crane

Mills

McLennan

Angelina

Augustine

Tom

Reeves

Upton Reagan

Concho

Coryell

Leon Houston

Sabine

Irion Green

McCulloch

Falls

Lampasas

Newton

San Saba

Trinity

Bell Robertson Madison

Jasper

Polk Tyler

Pecos

Schleicher Menard

Burnet

Milam

Walker

Crockett

Mason Llano

Brazos

San

Williamson

Grimes

Burleson

Jacinto

Sutton Kimble

Montgomery

Hardin

Gillespie Blanco

Lee

Terrell

Travis

Washington

Liberty Orange

Hays

Bastrop

Kerr

Jefferson

Edwards

Kendall

Austin

Val Verde

Waller Harris

Brewster

Comal Caldwell Fayette

Real

Chambers

Bandera

Colorado

Fort Bend

Bexar

Guadalupe Gonzales

Lavaca

Galveston

Galveston

Kinney Uvalde Medina

Wharton

Brazoria

Wilson

De Witt

Frio Atascosa Karnes

Jackson Matagorda

Zavala

Maverick

Victoria

Goliad

Calhoun

Dimmit La Salle McMullen Bee Refugio

Live Oak

Aransas

Population Change 2014-15

-474-0

1-250

251-1,623

1,624-8,136

8,137-25,820

As the population in Texas grows, so does the threat of both

structure and wildfires. The risk comes not only from the

growth in population, but also from where the high growth is

Webb

Zapata

Duval

Jim Hogg

Starr

Jim

Wells

Brooks

Hidalgo

San Patricio

Nueces

Kleberg

Kenedy

Willacy

Cameron

21


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Volunteer Fire Department (continued)

occurring. The increase of development in the unincorporated

areas of counties drives the costs of providing fire protection

and emergency response.

Conversely, in the more rural, less populous

Unincorporated County

counties VFDs

may be the sole provider of many services, including fire

and emergency response, as well as, support to local law

enforcement. As the population of these counties decrease,

stress is put on local VFDs. Fortunately, Local Government

Code, Chapter 352, Sec.352.001 allows the commissioners court

of a county to furnish fire protection or fire-fighting equipment

to the residents of the county or of an adjoining county who live

outside municipalities. The cooperation between counties and

volunteer fire departments is essential to ensure a timely fire

response capability countywide.

SIGNIFICANT COST FACTORS:

• New firefighting equipment

• Personal gear

• Machinery

• Equipment maintenance

• Communication equipment

• Fuel

• Training

• Other (some counties cover personal expenses such as

volunteer firefighter’s insurance)

IMPACT ON COUNTIES:

Source: 2015, Texas State Association of Fire and Emergency Districts

Smallest Rural Counties – Bracket E: (Twelve counties

responded with a population less than 10,000). Only two

of the smallest counties have, or are part of an ESD. These

are the counties that contribute the most per population to

support local VFDs and fund the majority of the county’s VFD

functions. Annual county budgets for VFDs tend to remain

fairly consistent. From 2014 to 2015, five E bracket counties

reduced their VFD budgets and five counties increased

their budgets based on a combination of funding input

from mutual agreements with neighboring counties and

smaller incorporated cities, local fundraising and grants for

communities under 10,000 populations like the Volunteer Fire

Assistance Program.

Small Rural Counties – Bracket D: (Sixteen counties

responded with a population from 10,001 to 25,000). As a rule,

the VFD budgets for the small rural counties correspond with

the population fluctuations. Average county expenditures per

person for VFD operations in 2015 were $6.25, considerably less

than Bracket E. Four D Bracket counties have, or are part of

El Paso

Hudspeth

TAC County Expenditure Survey Responding Counties

Culberson

Jeff Davis

Presidio

Dallam

Hartley

Oldham

Deaf Smith

Parmer

Castro

Sherman

Moore

Potter

Randall

Swisher

Hansford

HutchinsonRoberts

Carson

Armstrong

Briscoe

Ochiltree

Gray

Donley

Hall

Lipscomb

Hemphill

Collingsworth

Childress

Hardeman

Bailey Lamb Hale Floyd Motley Cottle Wilbarger

Foard

Wichita

Clay

Lamar

Cochran Hockley

Montague

Baylor Archer

Cooke

Grayson

Red River

Lubbock Crosby Dickens King Knox

Fannin

Bowie

Delta

Franklin

Denton Collin Hopkins

Titus

Yoakum

Terry

Jack

Morris

Lynn Garza Kent Stonewall Haskell

Throckmorton

Wise

Cass

Young

Hunt

Camp

Rockwall Rains

Marion

Dallas

Gaines

Stephens

Wood

Dawson Borden Scurry Fisher Jones

Palo Pinto

Parker Tarrant

Upshur

Shackleford

Harrison

Kaufman

Van

Zandt

Gregg

Eastland

Hood Johnson Ellis

Smith

Andrews

Martin

Howard Mitchell Nolan Taylor Callahan

Erath Somervell

Henderson Rusk Panola

Hill

Navarro

Cherokee

Loving

Coke

Bosque

Shelby

Winkler Ector Midland Glasscock

Comanche

Anderson

Sterling

Runnels Coleman Brown

Hamilton

Freestone

NacogdochesSan

Ward

Limestone

Crane

Mills

McLennan

Angelina

Augustine

Tom

Reeves

Upton Reagan

Concho

Coryell

Leon Houston

Sabine

Irion Green

McCulloch

Falls

Lampasas

Newton

San Saba

Trinity

Bell Robertson Madison

Jasper

Polk Tyler

Pecos

Schleicher Menard

Burnet

Milam

Walker

Crockett

Mason Llano

Brazos

San

Williamson

Grimes

Burleson

Jacinto

Sutton Kimble

Montgomery

Hardin

Gillespie Blanco

Lee

Terrell

Travis

Washington

Liberty Orange

Hays

Bastrop

Kerr

Jefferson

Edwards

Kendall

Austin

Val Verde

Waller Harris

Brewster

Comal Caldwell Fayette

Real

Chambers

Bandera

Colorado

Fort Bend

Bexar

Guadalupe Gonzales

Lavaca

Galveston

Galveston

Kinney Uvalde Medina

Wharton

Brazoria

Wilson

De Witt

Frio Atascosa Karnes

Jackson Matagorda

Zavala

Maverick

Victoria

Goliad

Calhoun

Dimmit La Salle McMullen Bee Refugio

Live Oak

Aransas

Population Bracket

and $ Spent Per-Person

B $4.11

C $5.30

D $6.25

E $14.15

Wheeler

an ESD and there are more, larger incorporated cities in these

counties where the majority of the population and municipal

emergency response resources are located.

Mid-Sized Counties – Bracket C: (Seventeen counties

responded with a population from 25,001to 100,000). Again,

as the county population increases the county VFD budgets

per person go down. In 2015, the Bracket C counties averaged

$5.30/person and seven of the 17 responding counties have,

or are part of an ESD. Many mid-sized counties contain

major metropolitan areas and are between rural and urban.

While most of the population is covered by an ESD or city fire

departments, subdivisions are increasingly extending into

VFD response territories. Most of the county expenditures

related to VFDs are for those units which cover gaps in the

unincorporated county areas not under an ESD or for costs

related to inter-local agreements.

Large Urban Counties – Bracket B: (Nine counties responded

with a population from 100,001 to 1,000,000). County

expenditures average $4.11/person in the second largest

counties and five counties have, or are part of an ESD. Again,

Most of the county expenditures related to VFDs are for those

units which cover gaps in the unincorporated county areas not

under an ESD or for costs related to inter-local agreements,

Webb

Zapata

Duval

Jim Hogg

Starr

Jim

Wells

Brooks

Hidalgo

San Patricio

Nueces

Kleberg

Kenedy

Willacy

Cameron

22


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Expenditures

Survey

mutual aid agreements and one-off large capital expenses for

support structures.

Largest Urban Counties – Bracket A: With a population greater

than 1,000,000 (0 counties). The bulk of the large urban

counties’ fire response is funded by ESDs or municipalities.

OTHER RELEVENT DATA/INFORMATION:

Operational volunteer fire department members receive

some form of training. Many volunteer fire departments have

training programs equal to that of paid departments. The

specialty training can include wildland firefighting, technical

rescue, swift water rescue, hazardous materials response, vehicle

extrication and others.

The commissioners court of a county may contract with an

incorporated VFD that is located within the county to provide

fire protection to an area of the county that is located outside

the municipalities in the county. The court may pay for that

protection from the general fund of the county.

CONCLUSION:

Even though fires, especially structure fires, occur more

frequently in the more populous counties, the county

expenditures for fire response per person are far greater in

the smallest, most rural counties. Additionally, because of the

extreme rural nature of the VFDs in these smallest counties,

volunteer fire fighters are trained to provide other essential

services to their communities.

In many cases counties are the major funder for VFDs not

located within an ESD or a good-sized municipality, but even in

the large counties with ESDs and large cities, annual budgets

include considerable funding for VFDs.

23


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County Information Program

Emergency Management

By Bruce Barr, County GIS Analyst

Question: What was the total amount of county expenditures

for state emergency management readiness requirements?

BACKGROUND:

Sec. 418.102 of the Texas Government Code states that

every county is required by law to maintain an emergency

management program or participate in an inter-jurisdictional

emergency management program. In addition, the county

judge or the designated emergency management coordinator

must complete a training course through the Texas Division

of Emergency Management within 180 days of assuming

responsibility for emergency management.

Emergency Management Components

At the local government level, emergency management expenses

can generally be broken down to into three basic areas:

• Preparation/mitigation: Activity and expenses related to

lessening the local impact of a disaster or emergency action.

May include capital improvements and construction required

to meet daily and special emergency management needs,

participate in state and federal programs geared toward

reducing losses from future disasters like buy-outs and

conversion of property use, community shelters, readiness

training and outreach. Most federal, or state pass-through

grants require a 25 percent local government match.

• Response: The costs incurred responding to a disaster,

natural or manmade, include man-hours, equipment use

and repair, evacuation and re-entry, and participation

in inter-local and regional emergency response plans.

Unplanned-for response costs can be county budget

busters. With federal reimbursements commonly averaging

around 75 percent of total costs and taking years to receive.

• Recovery: Post-disaster repair and rebuilding expenses

can add up. For counties, the most immediate need is the

swift collection and disposal of disaster related debris from

county roads and infrastructure and road repair. County

recovery dollars vary depending on participation in state

or federal recovery programs. Like with response costs,

federal reimbursements commonly average around 75

percent of total costs, but can take years to receive.

Additional day-to-day county emergency management

responsibilities and expenses include maintaining an intrajurisdictional

radio communication capability and supporting

local and regional emergency response programs.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 caused drastic changes

in the way federal, state and local resources are marshaled

and dispatched in response to catastrophic events. Part of that

process has been geared towards establishing a standardized

response system across all levels of government and including

non-governmental organizations.

For the last several years, local governments have been moving

towards implementation of the National Incident Management

System (NIMS) program and the education of the officials

charged with carrying out specific roles within the system.

Insuring county officials and staff are up-to-date on their

required NIMS education and other mandatory federal training

is essential to meeting pass-through grant qualification.

For example, the Emergency Management Performance Grant

(EMPG) is a federally funded program to assist states and local

governments with all hazards emergency preparedness. Some of

the requirements to maintain eligibility in the EMPG program are:

• All participating jurisdictions must be a legally established

city or county emergency management program AND be

the designated primary jurisdiction in accordance with

Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code;

• All participating jurisdictions must have adopted the

NIMS; and

• All participating jurisdictions must have appointed an

Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC). Each

qualifying jurisdiction must have its own appointed EMC.

An individual EMC cannot be assigned to both a county

and city jurisdiction.

SUMMARY:

In rural Texas especially, the county is the first line of defense

and response to a local disaster. When a municipality has used

up all its resources they turn to the county for help first.

No county is immune to disaster. As of July 2014, every county in

Texas had had at least three federal disaster declarations. 2015

was the year of superlatives. January to June were the wettest

six months in recorded Texas history, and the severe storms,

tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that occurred

from May 4 to June 23 of 2015 forced the president to declare

a disaster and make assistance available for 110 Texas Counties

(DR-4223).

24


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County

Expenditures

Survey

El Paso

Hudspeth

Culberson

Jeff Davis

Presidio

Dallam

Deaf Smith

Parmer

Hartley

Oldham

Castro

Sherman

Moore

Potter

Randall

Swisher

Hansford

HutchinsonRoberts

Carson

Armstrong

Briscoe

Ochiltree

Gray

Donley

Hall

Lipscomb

Hemphill

Collingsworth

Childress

Hardeman

Bailey Lamb Hale Floyd Motley Cottle Wilbarger

Foard

Wichita

Clay

Lamar

Cochran Hockley

Montague

Baylor Archer

Cooke

Grayson

Red River

Lubbock Crosby Dickens King Knox

Fannin

Bowie

Delta

Franklin

Denton Collin Hopkins

Titus

Yoakum

Terry

Jack

Morris

Lynn Garza Kent Stonewall Haskell

Throckmorton

Wise

Cass

Young

Hunt

Camp

Rains

Rockwall

Marion

Dallas

Gaines

Stephens

Wood

Dawson Borden Scurry Fisher Jones

Palo Pinto

Parker Tarrant

Upshur

Shackleford

Harrison

Kaufman

Van

Zandt

Gregg

Eastland

Hood Johnson Ellis

Smith

Andrews

Martin

Howard Mitchell Nolan Taylor Callahan

Erath Somervell

Henderson Rusk Panola

Hill

Navarro

Cherokee

Loving

Coke

Bosque

Shelby

Winkler Ector Midland Glasscock

Comanche

Anderson

Sterling

Runnels Coleman Brown

Hamilton

Freestone

NacogdochesSan

Ward

Limestone

Crane

Mills

McLennan

Angelina

Augustine

Tom

Reeves

Upton Reagan

Concho

Coryell

Leon Houston

Sabine

Irion Green

McCulloch

Falls

Lampasas

Newton

San Saba

Trinity

Bell Robertson Madison

Jasper

Polk Tyler

Pecos

Schleicher Menard

Burnet

Milam

Walker

Crockett

Mason Llano

Brazos

San

Williamson

Grimes

Burleson

Jacinto

Sutton Kimble

Montgomery

Hardin

Gillespie Blanco

Lee

Terrell

Travis

Washington

Liberty Orange

Bastrop

Kerr

Hays

Jefferson

Edwards

Kendall

Austin

Val Verde

Waller Harris

Brewster

Comal Caldwell Fayette

Real

Chambers

Bandera

Colorado

Fort Bend

Bexar

Guadalupe Gonzales

Lavaca

Galveston

Galveston

Kinney Uvalde Medina

Wharton

Brazoria

Wilson

De Witt

Frio Atascosa Karnes

Jackson Matagorda

Zavala

Maverick

Victoria

Goliad

Calhoun

Dimmit La Salle McMullen Bee Refugio

Live Oak

Aransas

Declaration Number

DR-4223

DR-4245

DR-4255

FM 5116

2015 Disaster Declarations

Wheeler

Webb

Zapata

Duval

Jim Hogg

Starr

Major Disaster Declarations

FEMA (DR-4223), (DR-4245).

(DR-4255) and (FM-5116)

Jim

Wells

Brooks

Hidalgo

San Patricio

Nueces

Kleberg

Kenedy

Willacy

Cameron

All areas in the State of Texas are

eligible for assistance under the

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

that event is housed and budgeted out of the county’s

emergency management department. Additionally, funding

the management of grant required programs normally falls

upon the county.

• Equipment – Includes costs of vehicle maintenance

operation, repair, insurance and fuel.

• Communications – Project 25 (P25) is a nationwide

initiative that created standards for emergency radio

communications that will enable first responders to

communicate with other agencies and mutual aid response

teams during emergencies. As counties continue become

P25 compliant, they are budgeting for the construction

of radio towers, purchasing of compliant portable and

trunk communication equipment and the upgrading of

emergency operation centers.

• Training – Besides maintaining their own professional

certifications, emergency management staff are responsible

for ensuring county elected officials have received the

required NIMS or Incident Command System training

necessary to receive federal grants.

TAC County Expenditure Survey Responding Counties

From October 22 to 31 of 2015, another round of severe storms,

tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding events occurred

which resulted in 17 counties receiving Unincorporated FEMA County Public Assistance

(PA) grant availability, and 15 counties achieving PA lossacceptance

levels for the second time (DR-4245).

Dallam

Hartley

Oldham

Deaf Smith

Parmer

Castro

Sherman

Moore

Potter

Randall

Swisher

Hansford

HutchinsonRoberts

Carson

Armstrong

Briscoe

Ochiltree

Gray

Donley

Hall

Lipscomb

Hemphill

Wheeler

Collingsworth

Childress

And again, on November 25, 2015, severe winter storms,

tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding struck. Fifty

counties received federal disaster declarations (DR-4255).

On top of all the wet disasters, Bastrop County was granted a

disaster declaration for Fire Assistance Grant (FM) 5116 for the

Hidden Pines fire.

SIGNIFICANT COST FACTORS:

Cost factors associated with normal emergency management

day-to-day operations that meet state requirements:

• Grant Matching - Most federal pass through programs

require a local government contribution either in cash or

in kind contributions.

• Staff – Personnel costs are a major cost driver in county

emergency management readiness expenditures. Even

though an event is long past for some counties, staff

Source: 2015, Texas State Association of Fire and Emergency Districts

working solely on the management of the recovery of

El Paso

Hudspeth

Culberson

Jeff Davis

Presidio

Hardeman

Bailey Lamb Hale Floyd Motley Cottle Wilbarger

Foard

Wichita

Clay

Lamar

Cochran Hockley

Montague

Baylor Archer

Cooke

Grayson

Red River

Lubbock Crosby Dickens King Knox

Fannin

Bowie

Delta

Franklin

Denton Collin Hopkins

Titus

Yoakum

Terry

Jack

Morris

Lynn Garza Kent Stonewall Haskell

Throckmorton

Wise

Cass

Young

Hunt

Camp

Rockwall Rains

Marion

Dallas

Gaines

Stephens

Wood

Dawson Borden Scurry Fisher Jones

Palo Pinto

Parker Tarrant

Upshur

Shackleford

Harrison

Kaufman

Van

Zandt

Gregg

Eastland

Hood Johnson Ellis

Smith

Andrews

Martin

Howard Mitchell Nolan Taylor Callahan

Erath Somervell

Henderson Rusk Panola

Hill

Navarro

Cherokee

Loving

Coke

Bosque

Shelby

Winkler Ector Midland Glasscock

Comanche

Anderson

Sterling

Runnels Coleman Brown

Hamilton

Freestone

NacogdochesSan

Ward

Limestone

Crane

Mills

McLennan

Angelina

Augustine

Tom

Reeves

Upton Reagan

Concho

Coryell

Leon Houston

Sabine

Irion Green

McCulloch

Falls

Lampasas

Newton

San Saba

Trinity

Bell Robertson Madison

Jasper

Polk Tyler

Pecos

Schleicher Menard

Burnet

Milam

Walker

Crockett

Mason Llano

Brazos

San

Williamson

Grimes

Burleson

Jacinto

Sutton Kimble

Montgomery

Hardin

Gillespie Blanco

Lee

Terrell

Travis

Washington

Liberty Orange

Hays

Bastrop

Kerr

Jefferson

Edwards

Kendall

Austin

Val Verde

Waller Harris

Brewster

Comal Caldwell Fayette

Real

Chambers

Bandera

Colorado

Fort Bend

Bexar

Guadalupe Gonzales

Lavaca

Galveston

Galveston

Kinney Uvalde Medina

Wharton

Brazoria

Wilson

De Witt

Frio Atascosa Karnes

Jackson Matagorda

Zavala

Maverick

Victoria

Goliad

Calhoun

Dimmit La Salle McMullen Bee Refugio

Live Oak

Aransas

Emergency Management

A

B

C

D

E

Webb

Zapata

Duval

Jim Hogg

Starr

Jim

Wells

Brooks

Hidalgo

San Patricio

Nueces

Kleberg

Kenedy

Willacy

Cameron

25


County

Expenditures

Survey

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County Information Program

Emergency Management (continued)

IMPACT ON COUNTIES:

While memorandums of understanding and other interlocal

agreements help neighboring entities provide heavy equipment

and other resources in response to regional events, because

of their location, size or other uniquely available assets, some

counties are asked to participate in statewide emergency

operations at a higher level, and expense than others.

Smallest Rural Counties – Bracket E: (Twelve counties

responded with a population less than 10,000). Seven of the

smallest counties received a federal disaster declaration in 2015.

Possibly in response to dropping population levels, four of the

smallest counties reduced the amount they spent for emergency

management from 2014 to 2015. Three of these counties

experienced disasters in 2015.

CONCLUSION:

Section 418 of the Texas Government Code states that counties

must have an emergency response plan, and personnel

adequately trained to implement the plan. Federal rules

stipulate that county officials with assigned duties in response

to a disaster must have a level of training in the NIMS

commensurate with their duties. In many counties, there are

emergency management staff assigned to ensure compliance

with state and federal requirements. For all counties that have

at least an emergency management coordinator, staffing was

the major cost driver.

For counties that experienced disaster events in 2015, the

majority increased their emergency management expenditures

to meet disaster relief requirements.

Small Rural Counties – Bracket D: (Twelve counties

responded with a population from 10,001 to 25,000). Six of

the responding Bracket D counties received a federal disaster

declaration in 2015, of which three reduced their expenditures

from 2014 to 2015. Three other non-disaster impacted counties

in the D Bracket also reduced their expenditures in 2015.

Mid-Sized Counties – Bracket C: (Twenty counties responded

with a population from 25,001 to 100,000). Sixteen of the

responding Bracket C counties received a federal disaster

declaration in 2015 and only five of those reducing their

expenditures in 2015. Many mid-sized counties abut major

metropolitan areas and represent a transition between rural

and urban. Counties in the low end of this population bracket

tend to be rural and along traffic arteries.

Large Urban Counties – Bracket B: (Eleven counties

responded with a population from 100,001 to 1,000,000).

Six of the responding Bracket B counties received a federal

disaster declaration in 2015. Of the B Bracket counties, only

Potter and Randall counties reduced their reported emergency

management expenditures for 2015. Neither county had a

federal disaster declaration in 2015. These B bracket counties

are fast, or stable-growth counties with consistent expenditures

for county emergency management.

Largest Urban Counties – Bracket A: (Three counties

responded with a population greater than 1,000,000). All three

of the largest counties responding received a federal disaster

declaration in 2015. Harris, Dallas and Tarrant were hit with

severe weather. Only Dallas county reduced its expenditures,

but by less than 1 percent.

26


County Information Program

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County

Expenditures

Survey

Adult Probation

By Laura Nicholes, Legislative Liaison

SURVEY RESULTS:

Questions:

• What were the county’s total expenditures for adult probation

(CSCD) (do not include grant money or state appropriations)?

• What was the total value of in-kind contributions made to the

adult probation department (CSCD)?

• If you provided an amount on the previous question, please

include a brief description of the in-kind contributions made

to the adult probation department (CSCD)?

A pattern of increased county expenditures for support of local

CSCDs and their employees has been trending since 2009. The

2014 County Expenditures Survey gathered responses from 82

counties and demonstrated an increase of slightly more than

$1 million from year 2012 to 2013. Sixty two counties responded

to the 2015 Survey with an increased amount of support to

CSCDs from year 2014 to 2015 in the amount of $2.4 million —

an increase of 3.4 percent for those counties.

BACKGROUND

There are approximately 415,000

offenders on community supervision

in the state of Texas. Community

Supervision and Corrections

Departments (CSCDs) are charged with

supervising and monitoring court orders

for defendants whose criminal sentences

have been suspended and probated with

conditions to be met in lieu of going to

jail. The Community Justice Assistance

Division (CJAD) oversees the rules and

standards of operation for the CSCDs, as

well as administers their funding. CJAD

is a division within the Texas Department

of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

CSCDs are funded by a mixture of state and local dollars,

grants and court-ordered supervision fees paid by defendants.

While Government Code §76.008 mandates that the county

or counties served by a probation department shall provide

physical facilities, equipment and utilities for the departments,

formula-based state funding accounts for roughly 65 percent of

local operating budgets (a stark contrast to juvenile probation

budgets which are 70 percent local funds) with the remainder

of the budget being supported by offender fees and grant

monies.

Counties support local adult probation departments in a

variety of ways across the various jurisdictions, and depending

on the needs, resources and local agreements between the

counties, courts and probation departments. Counties also

make matched contributions to the Texas County and District

Retirement System (TCDRS) for active CSCD employees; some

counties have the option of choosing to join the state insurance

benefit program for their CSCD employees or contract for

benefits through the county provider.

When the 85th Legislature convenes

in 2017, it will likely revisit

the CSCD funding formulas,

performance measurements and

incentive grant programs for

efficiency and effectiveness in

reducing recidivism and diverting

offenders from entering the state

prison system.

According to the established population

brackets, the largest increase in total

support of adult probation departments

was represented by fifteen counties from

the Small Counties bracket with a 14.9

percent increase. The most noticeable

decrease came from thirteen counties in

the Smallest Counties bracket reporting

11.2 percent less support. Three of the

largest counties reported a 3.7 percent

increase, twelve Large Counties reported

a 2.1 percent decrease while Medium

Counties reported 7.4 percent increase.

The question of in-kind donations was

new this year, and the responses varied

for data requests for 2014 and 2015.

Forty-four counties responded that they provided $12.1 million

in in-kind services to CSCDs in 2014 while forty-three counties

said they provided $2.1 million in 2015. This is a decrease of

82.6 percent, but the inconsistent data and lack of a trending

pattern makes this question one to continue watching over the

next several budget cycles.

CONCLUSION:

The Legislature has poured millions of dollars into adult

treatment and rehabilitative programs in recent years, in an

effort to reduce probation caseloads, recidivism rates and jail

and prison overcrowding. When the 85th Legislature convenes

in 2017, it will likely revisit the CSCD funding formulas,

performance measurements and incentive grant programs

for efficiency and effectiveness in reducing recidivism and

diverting offenders from entering the state prison system. Policy

changes that could have an impact on the county criminal

justice system, CSCD funding, jail population and courts will be

monitored closely as these functions are significant cost drivers

in local budgets.

27


County

Expenditures

Survey

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County Information Program

County Programs for Veterans

By Aurora Flores, Legislative Liaison

Question:

What were the total expenditures for services to veterans in

your county such as veterans courts programs, veteran service

officers, mental health related issues and verifying and

assisting identified veteran status prisoners?

BACKGROUND

Texas is home to more than 1.7 million veterans, including

nearly 150,000 active duty service members based at Texas’ 15

military installations. In this number are women who started

entering the military branches in greater numbers during more

recent periods of service. In fact, more female veterans call

Texas home than any other state in the country, according to

2015 figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The organizations that provide services to veterans, both at the

local and state level, are well versed in the issues veterans face

as they reintegrate into society. In addition to finding gainful

employment, veterans struggle with legal issues and mental

health related issues which can also involve incarceration.

Counties are increasingly called upon to identify veteran needs

and services available based on recent legislative mandates.

During the 84th legislative session, members of the Texas

House and Senate passed more than 20 laws relating to the

needs of Texas veterans. House Bill 867 established the Texas

Women Veterans Program. This bill requires the program to

provide guidance and direction to women veterans who apply

for grants, benefits, or services, through conferences, seminars

and training workshops with federal, state, county, municipal

and private agencies.

LEGISLATIVE MANDATES

Counties have been directed by the legislature to gather certain

information concerning veterans. In the area of mental health,

Senate Bill 55 creates a grant program at the Health and

Human Services Commission (HHSC), which will receive 100

percent matching funds from a private third party, to support

community programs for veterans’ mental health. HHSC is

required to select grant recipients based on the submission

of applications or proposals by nonprofit and governmental

entities. The program would help pull communities together

through public-private partnerships to organize mental health

services.

S.B. 1474 re-designates veteran court programs as veteran

treatment court programs, expanding eligibility for such

programs to include certain victims of military sexual trauma

and defendants likely to achieve success through rehabilitation.

Recent mandates include verifying veteran status of inmates

and prisoners. The Commission on Jail Standards requires

the sheriff of each county to investigate and verify the veteran

status of each prisoner using data available from the Veteran

Reentry Search Service or a similar service, and use this data to

assist prisoners in applying for federal benefits or compensation

which the veteran may be eligible.

Under Texas Government Code, (Chapter 434), counties

with a population of more than 200,000 are required to have

a veteran service officer (VSO). The services VSO’s provide

may include assisting veterans with medical transportation,

burial allowances, education and vocational services and other

benefits they may be eligible for. Currently, only 23 counties

are mandated to have a veteran service officer. More than 230

counties have at least a part-time VSO and some counties have a

staff in addition to their VSO.

SURVEY RESULTS

• Only three of the most populated counties responded

- Dallas, Harris and Tarrant. All three counties were

consistent in spending well over $300,000 during fiscal

years 2014-15, except for Dallas, which spend a little less in

fiscal year 2014. With a significant number of military bases

in San Antonio, these figures might look quite differently if

Bexar County responded.

• Denton County, with a population under 780,000, spent

the highest ($515,485) in fiscal year 2015 of all the other

counties that responded. Even in fiscal year 2014, Denton

28


County Information Program

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County

Expenditures

Survey

County figures are high relative to other counties of similar

population size.

• Out of the 87 counties that responded, only 27 counties left

this question blank or showed a zero for both fiscal years.

The number of counties that actually responded with a

positive number or zero were 61 counties.

• Most of the counties that responded were within the

population bracket of 25,000 - 100,000.

• Of all the counties that responded to this particular

question, the average cost was between $53,776 in fiscal

year 2014 and $59,823 in fiscal year 2015.

Texas Counties with a Population of 200K and Over

July 2007

Dallam

Hartley

Sherman Hansford Ochiltree Lipscomb

Moore HutchinsonRoberts

Hemphill

Oldham

Potter

Carson

Gray

Wheeler

Deaf Smith Randall Armstrong Donley Collingsworth

El Paso

Hudspeth

Culberson

Jeff Davis

Presidio

Parmer

Castro

Swisher

Briscoe

Hall

Childress

Hardeman

Bailey Lamb Hale Floyd Motley Cottle Wilbarger

Foard

Wichita

Clay

Lamar

Cochran Hockley

Montague

Baylor Archer

Cooke

Grayson

Red River

Lubbock Crosby Dickens King Knox

Fannin

Bowie

Delta

Franklin

Denton Collin Hopkins

Titus

Yoakum

Terry

Jack

Morris

Lynn Garza Kent Stonewall Haskell

Throckmorton

Wise

Cass

Young

Hunt

Camp

Rockwall Rains

Marion

Dallas

Gaines

Stephens

Wood

Dawson Borden Scurry Fisher Jones

Palo Pinto

Parker Tarrant

Upshur

Shackleford

Harrison

Kaufman

Van

Zandt

Gregg

Eastland

Hood Johnson Ellis

Smith

Andrews

Martin

Howard Mitchell Nolan Taylor Callahan

Erath Somervell

Henderson Rusk Panola

Hill

Navarro

Cherokee

Loving

Coke

Bosque

Shelby

Winkler Ector Midland Glasscock

Comanche

Anderson

Sterling

Runnels Coleman Brown

Hamilton

Freestone

NacogdochesSan

Ward

Limestone

Crane

Mills

McLennan

Angelina

Augustine

Tom

Reeves

Upton Reagan

Concho

Coryell

Leon Houston

Sabine

Irion Green

McCulloch

Falls

Lampasas

Newton

San Saba

Trinity

Bell Robertson Madison

Jasper

Polk Tyler

Pecos

Schleicher Menard

Burnet

Milam

Walker

Crockett

Mason Llano

Brazos

San

Williamson

Grimes

Burleson

Jacinto

Sutton Kimble

Montgomery

Hardin

Gillespie Blanco

Lee

Terrell

Travis

Washington

Liberty Orange

Hays

Bastrop

Kerr

Jefferson

Edwards

Kendall

Austin

Val Verde

Waller Harris

Brewster

Comal Caldwell Fayette

Real

Chambers

Bandera

Colorado

Fort Bend

Bexar

Guadalupe Gonzales

Lavaca

Galveston

Galveston

Kinney Uvalde Medina

Wharton

Brazoria

Wilson

De Witt

Frio Atascosa Karnes

Jackson Matagorda

Zavala

Maverick

Victoria

Goliad

Calhoun

Dimmit La Salle McMullen Bee Refugio

Live Oak

Aransas

Required to have a

veteran service officer

Webb

Zapata

Duval

Jim Hogg

Jim

Wells

Brooks

San Patricio

Nueces

Kleberg

Kenedy

Starr

Hidalgo

Willacy

Cameron

CONCLUSION:

There was an increase of 11 percent in the total expenditures

for services to veterans from 2014 to 2015. The components

in the survey question were not gathered individually. With

the exception of veteran service officers, the other mandated

information compiled in this question only has two years of

information to compare.

29


County

Expenditures

Survey

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County Information Program

Notes

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30


County Information Program

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County

Expenditures

Survey

Notes

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31


County

Expenditures

Survey

(800) 456-5974 • www.county.org • t @TexasCounties

County Information Program

Notes

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32


P.O. Box 2131 • Austin, Texas 78768

(512) 478-8753 • (800) 456-5974 • county.org

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