Tarrant County recognized a need to better inform students about county government, improve efficiency and accuracy in the county tax office and honor United States military personnel. In response, it developed three innovative programs that have been selected by the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) to receive 2016 County Best Practices Awards.
The three Tarrant County programs receiving awards:
Honorary Jurors Program — More than 400 students from 20 Tarrant County schools better understand the justice of the peace and constable’s official duties thanks to the county’s Honorary Jurors Program. Tarrant County Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Sergio De Leon invites elementary and secondary students from his precinct into his court to view actual proceedings, allows them to participate in a mock trial and provides tours of his office. The program, which works closely with the Fort Worth Independent School District, has received overwhelming positive responses from students, educators and the community.
Cash Balancing Standardization Project — The Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office developed new tools and procedures for use across its eight locations to improve management of County funds. The tools make the office’s cash balancing process more manageable and the reconciliation of funds in the accounting department much easier. Trained staff follow standardized “instruction quick cards” that make it easier to identify and locate accounting errors. Since the tools’ implementation, the office challenged the County’s bank five times on shortages that had been adjusted out of the County’s account. After providing detailed supporting documentation available through the new tools, the bank returned funds to the County.
Armed Forces First Initiative — Several thousand military personnel are stationed at the Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in Tarrant County. The County wanted to honor them by allowing personnel wearing military uniform the ability to move to the front of a line when queuing for County services. Implementation of the policy was easy and inexpensive and garnered overwhelming support from the community.
Tarrant County was one of more than 15 counties across Texas selected by TAC to receive a Best Practices Award.
“Tarrant County’s innovative programs deliver great value to the community in so many ways,” said TAC Executive Director Gene Terry. “We hope these awards will inspire other counties to follow suit with their own initiatives.”
The TAC County Best Practices Awards Program recognizes county innovation, inspires county leaders to develop improved programs, and creates an avenue for promoting replicable and proven solutions to common county concerns.
TAC works to unite Texas counties in search of solutions for challenges faced by all counties and provides services to support county officials in the vital work they do for their local communities.
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