We began 2021 with the promise of new hope after a year of hardship and uncertainty.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to challenge all of us globally, nationally, and locally, Denton County stepped forward with what many have called the “Chick-Fil-A” of vaccine clinics, providing more than 371,760 vaccines in a 16-lane, drive-thru mega clinic at Texas Motor Speedway.
Our cities allowed their firefighters, police officers, and emergency management teams to stand alongside Denton County as we worked to get as many shots into arms as possible. Thousands of volunteers contributed tens of thousands of hours to our vaccination efforts while private companies like CoServ stepped in to keep everyone at our clinics fed.
Visitors from across the country, including from Austin to Washington, D.C., stopped by to learn about our processes and replicate them elsewhere. News media shared our successes far and wide and even a news crew from France flew in.
Since that first clinic, we’ve provided almost a half-million vaccinations to residents while at the same time using federal dollars to keep residents in need housed and fed – efforts that continue today and will carry forward into 2022.
But even as the pandemic has become a part of our everyday lexicon, we have had the opportunity to address other important issues.
As life began to return to some semblance of normal, we began focusing on other needs.
With the county’s growth nearing the 1 million mark, 933,000, Denton County has strategically planned ahead, asking voters in 2008 to approve funds for a new Denton County Administration Building we opened this year.
The new four-story, 95,794-square-foot building brings a number of staff together in one location from the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square and the Carroll Courts Building, housing my office as well as Commissioners Court, County Administration, Budget, County Auditor/Accounts Payable, County Treasurer, Purchasing, Community Relations, Human Resources, Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 and Precinct 1 Constable, Economic Development and Aide to Commissioners Court.
It not only consolidates county administrative personnel, but it also allows Denton County to expand the judicial system, which continues to grow. As former Prime Minister William E. Gladstone once said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
Since 2011, Commissioners Court has approved the addition of six judicial courts including two that begin serving residents on Jan. 1, 2022. These two new judicial courts include the 481st District Court with Crystal Edmondson Levonius appointed as judge by Gov. Greg Abbott and Probate Court No. 2 with Christopher Everett appointed as judge.
Denton County will renovate the Carroll Courts Building to house two probate courts and a court now housed in the Courts Building on McKinney Street will move into the Courthouse-on-the-Square in downtown Denton.
As Denton County grows, adding an estimated 82 people every day, we keep a constant eye toward transportation needs as well as ensuring a diverse economic portfolio to provide a wide variety of jobs for all residents. With the pandemic, we also took note of services that might need to be addressed to ensure better communications, additional emergency response capabilities, and much more.
What became abundantly evident this year was how interconnected we all are, whether dealing with a pandemic or addressing growth issues. It is this interconnectedness that makes Denton County a thriving, engaging, and enduring place to be.
As we look ahead to 2022 and all that it may bring, now is the perfect opportunity to look back to the time before for lessons learned and to also look ahead by setting goals, whether for personal achievements, professional gains, or perhaps, for the collective whole.
I’d like to invite you to take some time to set those goals for yourselves, your families, your communities. And, if you have a few suggestions for our county, you know where to find me.
We can achieve so much more together as a unified Denton County team.
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If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my office number is 940-349-2820. For more information, register for my newsletter at www.Dentoncounty.gov/countyjudgenewslettersignup