The elections are finally over and now we will see what the former candidates can do in their new jobs.

Rockwall County on the first of January will have three new members on the five-member Commissioners Court: a new county judge and two recently elected commissioners.

They now assume the responsibility for guiding the county into the future. and the history of the county will tell us something about the issues they will be facing.

Rockwall County was created in 1873 when it was divorced from Kaufman County because of a political deal: “You vote with us, and we will break a land area off and create a new county called Rockwall County.” and after the next 77 years, the total population of the new county in 1950 was only 6,100.

Now, 72 years later, the population is 114,000 and growing at a compounded rate between 2.7% and 3% per year. Using simple mathematics, this says the new leadership of the county must prepare for the population to be about 150,000 in 2030 — a short eight years from now.

The county has grown in population because of several important factors. Probably the most important is its proximity to Dallas. Second is I-30, which provides a fast way to get between the two points. Add to this the addition of Lake Ray Hubbard, which was created in 1968, making Rockwall County a destination location. Good land developers in the county and the addition of an excellent school system further added to the attraction of the county. Stable government and a low crime rate additionally enhanced the attractiveness of the county.

So, what does the future hold? With the projected growth, new developments will be common. More apartments will be built. Cities will be limited to their current boundaries because of a bad law that restricts annexation of new areas without the consent of citizens within the proposed annexation area. Open space will quickly become non-existent unless plans are quickly developed and instituted. Transportation will become even more important as the population expands. The issue of high property tax remains due to the almost non-existent efforts of Austin to really address the issue.

Coming into office with this background, what do our county leaders need to do?

The creation of a strategic plan is vital for addressing the issues. Citizen input for this plan is extremely important.

Continuation of the excellent vehicle (The County Road Consortium) for addressing the transportation issues is vital. In addition, intra-county road systems must be investigated and solutions developed.

Austin must be prompted to again address the property tax system. This issue has been in existence since the rapid escalation of property assessments, and no feasible solution has been developed. Our state Representative, Justin Holland, and our state Senator, Bob Hall, need to make this a prime task and our county leaders must insist they do so.

Austin must also be lobbied to eliminate the bad law addressing annexation. Again, our leaders in the county must force this issue. Our representatives in Austin must lead this effort, especially since Justin Holland was one of the co-sponsors of this law when it was proposed and passed.

The county “subdivision rules and regulations” must be as restrictive as possible to assist in limiting unchecked growth in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Close coordination and working with the leadership of all the cities in the county is important.

The three new members of the Commissioners Court are all experienced in the workings of government and have campaigned vigorously for their new positions. It is now time for them to convince the citizens of our county that we have elected individuals who can live up to their campaign promises. The future is too important to not deliver on what needs to be done as we move forward!

Jerry Hogan is a former county judge of Rockwall County who volunteers to write these weekly columns. He can be reached at 214-394-4033 or

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