Dear Friends, 

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since you were considerate enough to vote me into office as Collin County Commissioner of Precinct 4.  Again this year my goal is to work extremely hard for you and keep the County budget lean, while providing the services each of you expect the County to provide.

I am pleased to report that Collin County continues to be one of the fastest growing counties in the nation.  Managing and sustaining our growth continues to be the toughest challenge facing our County. The Collin County tax base grew 11.2% last year and it is estimated that approximately 80 to 100 people move here each day.

This growth keeps our taxes low while allowing us to provide the services our residents and businesses expect and demand. Collin County’s growth coupled with limited expansion of non-core function expenditures has allowed the Commissioner’s Court to again lower your ad valorem tax rate from $0.235 per $100 to $0.225 per $100. This reduction marks the 6th tax rate cut in the last seven years and 23rd consecutive year with no tax rate increase. It is my understanding that Collin County has the third lowest ad valorem tax rate in the State and the highest resident to employee ratio (506 to 1) among the top 12 largest counties of Texas.

I continue to focus a lot of my time and energy on Collin County’s transportation infrastructure.  Our County has been blessed with unbelievable economic growth and business development.  It seems everyone wants to live and work here.  That is great news for our communities and residents but it is putting massive strain on our infrastructure.  I am extremely concerned with how we will respond, specifically with regard to focusing enough resources on planning and implementing a strategic transportation plan.  Employers and residents who are moving here will not continue to want to move and locate here if traffic is worse than California.

We should pass the 1 million mark for residents of Collin County this year and some projections show that we will be over 2.1 million residents by 2040. The quadrant served by the President George Bush Turnpike, Dallas North Tollway, US 75 and Sam Rayburn Tollway is and probably will continue to be Collin County’s employment and business center.  Is it a surprise that the area with the most employment and business growth is serviced by these four limited access roadways?  People and businesses living and working in Collin County must be able to get to and from their jobs and other activities in a timely manner.

How are we going to move traffic in and out of other areas of Collin County when our population is the size of Dallas County, and our employer base doubles or triples with so few limited access roadways?   How are we going to move people in and out of Collin County with no unified transit system?  Plano is a member of DART, yet Frisco, Allen and McKinney are not members.  How is McKinney’s airport going to serve a County with 2.1 million or more people with no limited access roadways planned to currently serve it? I have provided a map comparing the limited access roadways of Dallas and Collin Counties.  The Collin County map includes the proposed outer loop since it is on the regional transportation maps and the Commissioner Court is moving forward with its planning, right of way reservation and acquisition.  Notice the big difference?

We are behind on transportation planning, including planning for additional limited access roadways.   Dallas County had a lot of its roadway system planned and right of way protected or reserved by the mid-1950s and 1960s. That is not the case for Collin County.  The massive influx of people and employers these last 15 years has caused our elected officials and residents to focus too much on short range issues and not enough on the long term consequences of this projected growth. Now is the time to change our focus to the long term impact of this grow and its impact upon our transportation infrastructure.

Hard decisions are on the horizon and depending upon how our residents and elected officials act, the economic engine that Collin County has enjoyed the last 20+ years may change due to our inability to move residents and employees in and around Collin County timely.  What are your views? I would welcome hearing your input.

The Court is now looking at how to fund transportation infrastructure.  I am going to suggest that the County research and possibly consider a bond issue in 2017 whose primary focus is funding transportation infrastructure.  Preliminary numbers suggest that the Court could structure a major bond issue with no tax rate increase.  What are your thoughts?

     
Thank you again for allowing me to represent you on the Commissioners Court.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions and or concerns you might have regarding our County.

Duncan


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