Commissioner Chris Hill:

This week, the commissioners court approved the 2014 county budget and tax rate. I'm thrilled to report that Collin County remains economically strong and financially healthy. The county population continues to grow at a dynamic pace, and we've taken a careful and deliberate approach to address the needs of our expanding community.

In addition to funding the ongoing services of the county, we also committed funds for infrastructure expansion, emergency planning, and we will retain a surplus fund for unforeseen issues. We have also eliminated our unfunded pension liability, setting aside $11.6 million to ensure that we remain fully funded and financially healthy. Paying these bills today means that we won't have to pass the obligation on to those who come behind us. This is the clearly the best strategy to keep our county strong and vibrant for years to come.

The best news this week is that the commissioners court voted to approve a quarter-cent tax rate decrease! I remain steadfast in my conviction that once we've funded government, paid our debts, planned for emergencies, and built up our surplus fund, any additional funds belong to the taxpayers who fund government. You can be sure that there are always more ways we can spend your tax dollars, but keeping government limited requires intentionality! And there is simply no better way to send a strong message that Collin County is the best place for business, and the best place to raise a family!