During the Republic of Texas the county board was composed of the chief justice (county judge) and the justices of the peace of the county; under the constitutions of 1845, 1861, and 1866, it was composed of the chief justice and four elective commissioners; and under the Constitution of 1869, of any three of the five justices of the peace of the county. The county commissioners' court or county board, as established by the Constitution of 1876, was composed of the county judge, as presiding officer, and four commissioners elected from precincts for two-year terms. A constitutional amendment adopted in 1954 changed the term of office to four years. The commissioners' court has none of the functions of a court but is the general governing body of the county. It establishes a courthouse and jail, appoints numerous minor officials such as the county health officer, fills vacancies in the county offices, lets contracts in the name of the county, builds and maintains roads and bridges, administers the county's public welfare services, performs numerous duties in regard to elections, sets the county tax rate, issues bonds, adopts the county budget, and serves as a board of equalization for tax assessments.
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Guide to Texas Laws for County Officials (Austin: Texas Department of Community Affairs, 1988). Dick Smith, The Development of Local Government in Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1938).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“County Commissioners' Court,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
September 19, 2019