County Commissioner Chris Hill recently celebrated his one-year anniversary in office on New Year’s Day. In his most recent County Line newsletter, Hill offered voters his thanks for the support and trust, outlined his highlights of 2013 and his thoughts about the upcoming year.
“As we look ahead to the next year, here is a glimpse of my approach to this next year,” Hill writes:
- I remain focused on the development of our transportation infrastructure. Conservative policies work, and the evidence of that is the extraordinary growth of the county. Families and businesses alike continue to choose Collin County as their new home, and we must be diligent and strategic in planning now for future growth. Just last month, TxDOT approved the funding for the next expansion project on US 75. The Transportation Commission awarded $47.5 million for the expansion of US 75 between Spring Creek Parkway in Plano to SH 121 (Sam Rayburn Tollway) in Allen/McKinney. Each new project is a reminder of how much we depend upon our transportation network, and this will continue to be a primary focus of mine.
- I remain committed to limited government and financial excellence & integrity. This requires a relentless dedication to openness and transparency in every aspect of your county government. In December, we learned that S&P had revised its financial rating criteria, and had therefore reevaluated our financial rating. I’m proud to share with you that S&P affirmed our AAA rating, once again confirming that our conservative financial policies work!
- I remain committed to serving full-time as your county commissioner. Just as I pledged during my campaign, it has been my pleasure to serve in this capacity full-time, and I remain true to the pledge I made with you, the voters.
And putting a cap on 2013, Hill offered the following: “Looking back over the last year, here are some of the highlights:”
- In March, I proposed the adoption of TAPS (Texoma Area Paratransit Services) as the new public transit service provider for rural Collin County. With commissioners court approval, TAPS launched throughout the county on July 1, 2013. In 2014, TAPS will continue to focus on expanded and improved services throughout the county. As our population grows and the pressure increases on our roadways, public transportation will take on a more significant role in Collin County, and we have taken the critical steps to establish the proper foundation.
- In September, I championed a plan to cut the county property tax rate, and we were successful in reducing your county property tax rate by 0.25%. This was done while still maintaining a healthy emergency fund, setting aside funds for future capital expenditures, and investing in future infrastructure improvements. You can be sure that as the county continues to grow and expand, I remain committed to limited government, excellence in all that we do, and fiscal responsibility. I will continue to look for ways to improve services & processes and to save taxpayer money.
- In October, the commissioners court successfully tackled the thorny issue of rising pension & retirement costs. As we continue to hear the stories of state & local governments struggling under the burden of public pension costs, I am thankful that Collin County continues to lead with a responsible, conservative approach. The commissioners court unanimously approved a new policy limiting retirement benefit costs to 8% of our payroll expense. The cap protects the county from unbounded potential market losses while sharing the costs of retirement benefits with county employees.
In conclusion …
“Thank you again for your support and for the faith you have placed in me. It is a true privilege to serve Collin County as your commissioner!
“May the Lord bless you and your family in this New Year.