Frequently Asked Questions
What is Commissioners Court?
(Answer adapted from An introduction to Texas County Government, 1980 by the Texas Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations)
The County Judge serves as the presiding officer of the Commissioners Court. The Commissioners Court, comprised of a County Judge, who is elected county wide and four County Commissioners, elected from individual precincts, is the general governing body of the county. Despite its name, Commissioners Court is not a judicial court. Its responsibilities are executive and administrative in nature. The major duties of commissioners court are:
- Set tax rate and adopt county budget
- Appoint certain county officials and hire personnel
- Fill elective and appointive vacancies
- Establish voting precincts, appoint precinct judges and call county bond elections
- Let contracts and authorize payment of all county bills
- Build and maintain county roads and bridges
- Build, maintain and improve county facilities including jails
- Approve plats for residential development in unincorporated areas
What does a County Commissioner do all day?
County Commissioners face a daunting task to perform all or even most of the things one would ideally do in this office.
The most important thing that a commissioner does is stay in touch with constituents. A particular vote on a particular issue, a complaint about taxes, a problem with a side walk or streets, are just a few things that a commissioners address daily. Meetings are a major part of every commissioner's role. Regularly scheduled court meetings, work sessions, and public hearings are a part of the job. Attending community functions such as neighborhood meetings, business openings, school activities, social and club meetings are also required. Holding meetings with citizens as a means of informing them about specific issues are another activity commissioners perform.
When and where does Commissioners Court meet?
Commissioners Court normally meets to conduct regular business at least every other Tuesday beginning at 11 a.m. in the Commissioners Court Courtroom, located on the first floor of the Bexar County Courthouse, 100 Dolorosa, Ste. 1.2, San Antonio, Texas, 78205. Commissioners Court also meets as needed, for work sessions. The agenda is posted at the South entrance and basement of the Courthouse for at least 72 hours preceding the scheduled time of the Commissioners Court meetings as prescribed by the Texas Open Meetings Act. Copies of the agenda can also be picked-up on the first floor of the courthouse in the lobby area of Commissioners Court. Meeting times and a copy of the agenda can be obtained through the Internet on the Commissioners Court website .
Contact 210.335.1369 for agenda information.
Are Commissioners Court meetings televised?
Yes, if you have Time Warner Cable, you can find the Commissioners Court meetings on Cable Channel 21 between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. or you can watch it live on the internet from the Commissioners Court website .
Can counties, like home-rule cities, create their own laws?
No. The Texas Constitution makes the county a legal subdivision of the State. The powers and duties of a county are limited to those specifically allowed by the constitution and laws of Texas. In urban counties such as Bexar, the State has granted limited ordinance authority for special situations such as health care, animal control, and other issues.
What authority does Commissioners Court have over the other county officials (e.g. the County Clerk, Tax Assessor-Collector, Sheriff, Constables, etc.)?
Commissioners Court approves the budgets of other elected officials offices, but the elected official retains all other control over their respective operations. They are responsible to you as a taxpayer and voter.
Who do you contact to make a claim against the County?
Who can you contact to express a concern about a District or County Court Judge?
Concerns about District and County Court Judges can be made to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct at this address:
P. O. Box 12265
Austin, Texas 78711-2265
Or you can call: 512.463.5533
What is the relationship between Bexar County and the University Health System?
The University Health System , formerly known as the Bexar County Hospital District, is a distinct legal and taxing entity. Commissioners Court approves the budget and the tax rate of the Health System. Furthermore, Commissioner's Court appoints the seven member University Health System Board of Managers which has closer oversight of the Health System. By law, Commissioners Court appoints the seven member Board of Managers. However, by custom, the Bexar County Judge appoints three members and each Commissioner appoints one member.
George Hernandez, Chief Executive Officer, 210.358.2000
4502 Medical Drive
San Antonio, Texas 78229-4493
What is the relationship between Bexar County and the Joe and Harry Freeman Coliseum?
The Community Arenas Board (CAB) has oversight of the operations and budget of the Joe and Harry Freeman Coliseum and the AT&T Center. The five members of CAB are nominated and approved by Commissioners Court and serve a two year term with the County Judge and each Commissioner appointing one member. The operations of the Coliseum are funded through event revenues. Concerns about the Coliseum or the AT&T Center can be made to:
Derek Howard, General Manager
3201 E. Houston
San Antonio, Texas 78220-0283
What is the relationship between Bexar County and the Bexar Appraisal District?
In contrast to the City of San Antonio, over seventy percent of County funding is from property taxes. Property appraisals are performed by the Bexar Appraisal District . Collection of taxes is the responsibility of the Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector. The Bexar Appraisal District is by law a legally distinct entity from Bexar County. The day to day operations of the Appraisal District are run by Michael Amezquita, Chief Appraiser. The Chief Appraiser, in turn, reports to a five member board of directors appointed by the taxing entities in votes cast proportional to the various entities tax base to the Bexar County tax base taken as a whole. In most instances the five trustees are each nominated by the five largest tax based jurisdictions. The board of directors serve a two year term.
If I am not satisfied with the appraisal of my property, how can I protest?
By May 15th of each year, the chief appraiser is required to send out notices of appraised value to property owners. If you do not agree with this appraisal, you have until June 1 or no later than the 30th day after the date notice was delivered to file a written notice of protest is included as part of the notice of appraised value.
Once this notice of protest is received, the Appraisal District will schedule a hearing of the protest. Many protests can be resolved at this meeting, but should you still not be satisfied there are additional steps of appeal available. To learn more about this appeal procedure, contact the Bexar Appraisal District at 411 N. Frio, San Antonio, Texas 78283, phone 210.224.8511.
I have a dispute with a business or individual, but I would prefer not to take them to court, does the County offer any services to help?
Yes, the Dispute Resolution Center , staffed by trained, volunteer mediators, is available to resolve disputes outside a court setting. The Center is located on the first floor of the Justice Center 300 Dolorosa, San Antonio, Texas 78205. The Director, Marlene Labenz-Hough is available to help explain this service to you at 210.335.2128.
I receive or pay child support and I want to know the status of my latest payment, what number do I call?
The Family Support Services Child Support Registry Office has an automated payment tracking system which is available to users of touch-tone telephones. To access this service, dial 210.335.2767 and follow the instructions.
I am or know someone who does not have the means to pay for burial services. Does the County have a program to handle this?
Yes, pauper burial services are offered through the County's Housing and Human Services Department. To learn more about the details of this program, please call Delia Perez at 210.335.6770.
There are loose dogs creating a disturbance near my home. Does the County have animal control services?
The County contracts with the City of San Antonio Metro Health District to provide animal control services. To make a report, call the Animal Control at 311.
I want to register to vote, find out what voting precinct I live in, receive an application for a ballot by mail or I have some other election-related issue - who do I call?
To register to vote, call the Voter Registration Office at 210.335.2251.
Other election related questions can be addressed by Personnel at the Bexar County Elections Department at 210.335.0362 or visit the Elections website at www.bexar.org/elections .
I would like to reserve a room in a County Building. Who do I call for help?
Julie Moke, Building Use and Permit Coordinator can assist you. Please call 210.335.6700 to schedule a reservation.
I would like an appointment to meet with the Commissioner, schedule a speech, or invite him to a function. Who do I call for help?
Monica Martinez, Executive Assistant to the Commissioner can help you, her contact number is 210.335.2614.
A Speech Request form may be downloaded for your use. After completion of the form, please fax your request to 210.335.2644.
Who's responsible for the maintenance of vacant lots with overgrown weeds, grass or brush?
The property owner is responsible for keeping the property clear of trash, debris and overgrown vegetation. Failure to do so can result in a lien being placed on the property for cleaning fees should the County incur the responsibility of cleaning up the property. Bexar County's Public Works Department handles complaints on overgrown or grassy, vacant lots. If you have a complaint regarding the maintenance of a vacant lot, call Public Works at 210.335.6700.
There seems to be excessive traffic violations in my neighborhood and I would like the County to conduct a traffic study. Who can I contact?
You can contact one of the staff members in my office who will then send a request on your behalf to either our Bexar County Public Works or the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), depending on who maintains the road in question, and they will request that a study be conducted. Upon completion of the study, my office will forward the results to you in written form.
A developer is attempting to build manufactured homes in my neighborhood. Can the Neighborhood Association stop the development of these homes?
Not in most cases, according to current law. What the County can do is ensure that the developer follow all of the County's platting regulations.
Platting consists of bearings and distances (survey), locations of all streets and roads, parks and easements, location of flood plain, drainage calculations and in the case of septic instances, soil analysis and classification, proof of water availability, and delineation of utilities. Also, ingress and egress to the subject lot or lots is required. Further regulations are more fully set forth in the Bexar County Subdivision Regulations.
There are trucks that weigh over 3/4 tons driving and parking in my neighborhood. Does the County have a law against this?
The County does have a 3/4 ton ordinance for these types of trucks. They can be ticketed if they are parked in a County approval street (subdivision) and left over night. They can make deliveries only but are prohibited from parking for more than 8 hours.