The Smith County Communications Office strives to promote transparency by providing the public with the most accurate, accessible and up-to-date information possible while promoting the county's brand and message of "Striving for Excellence."
Located on the first floor of the Smith County Annex Building
200 E. Ferguson, Suite 100
Tyler, Texas 75702
Email: Casey Murphy
National County Government Month Fact of the Day
April 29: Fact of the Day: Judy Masters, with Smith County Pets Alive works hard to help the Smith County Animal Shelter dogs get rescued. She has rescued about 125 and fostered 110 dogs since Jan 1, 2019! Several volunteers walk the animal shelter dogs to exercise them, teach them to walk on a leash and help socialize them. Keeley Randolph walks the dogs regularly along with Shirley Starkey and her husband, Harold. The shelter’s newest volunteer is Katiann Kinnett – who is a student at TJC this semester. Some of the volunteers help bath dogs when needed, or just hang out with them. “We have seen tremendous changes in some of the timid, fearful and shy dogs since volunteer have started working with them,” Animal Shelter Coordinator Le’Kisha Stinecipher said. Snobby Dog Grooming has helped groom the dogs to gel them look great at a recent adoption event. Volunteers foster dogs at their homes, taken them to vet appointments and transport dogs to rescues. Often times, they pay for rabies shots, neutering, preventatives, and other services not covered by the shelter to make them more “adoptable” or more enticing for rescues to take.
April 26: Fact of the Day: Every year, Smith County holds a County-Wide Clean Up Event, which allows Smith County residents to take bulky trash items to the landfill for free! The County-Wide Clean Up program began April 1 and runs through May 4. Available vouchers are good to use from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to noon Saturday. Vouchers are available at the Smith County Courthouse Annex and all Justice of the Peace/Constable Offices, to redeem at the Greenwood Farms Landfill, at 12920 Farm-to-Market Road 2767, or Old Kilgore Highway, in Tyler. Smith County citizens will be able to take 3 cubic yards of solid waste, which fills the bed of a regular sized pickup, and/or bulk items to be disposed of at the landfill. The annual County-Wide Clean Up is a great opportunity to clear your property of bulky items that collect water and breed mosquitos. As warmer weather approaches, the threat of mosquitos increases. Swimming pools, flower pots, wheel barrows and other items that can collect stagnant water is a preferred breeding ground for mosquitos. Mosquitos can breed in items as small as the cap of a water bottle. Getting rid of these things from your property can help protect you from mosquitos that could carry viruses such as Zika and West Nile. Among the many items that will be accepted include furniture, toys and tree trimmings. Items NOT accepted include: hazardous waste, pesticides, herbicides, solvents, gasoline, oils, paint, acid, batteries, Asbestos, wet paint, Freon, whole tires, televisions, computers, refrigerators and freezers. The annual clean up is put on by the Smith County Sheriff’s Office Environmental Crimes Unit and the Smith County Commissioners Court throughout April, which is National County Government Month.
April 25: Fact of the Day: Smith County Juvenile Services officially began in the early 80’s and with offices in the old Roberts Jr. High building on Berta Street which had been renovated to accommodate a court, probation offices and a 24 bed detention facility apply named The Juvenile Attention Center. In October of 2004 Juvenile Services moved into its new facility at 2630 Morningside Drive, which accommodates probation offices, a court, a counseling unit, a 70-bed detention facility, state parole offices and a counselor office from the Andrews Center.
April 24: Fact of the Day: Today’s #FactoftheDay is from the Smith County Record Services Department: Smith County records date back to the time of the county’s founding - April 11, 1846. Not only are 19th and 20th Century financial ledger books and minute books retained, hundreds of reels of microfilm, photographs and other materials are kept in the Cotton Belt Building, as well as numerous audiovisual records and modern media formats. The Record Services Department is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year! Smith County thanks its Record Services Director, Joseph Settanni, and his two longtime employees, Sandra Lyle and Keith Buckner. Thank you for all that you do for Smith County!
April 23: Fact of the Day: The Smith County Veterans Treatment Court for misdemeanor offenders saw five graduates this month. The purpose of the court is to work with veterans charged with certain offenses to get them necessary treatment for any mental health issues and to return them to being productive members of society. Goals set for those going through the program include finding a job and securing their finances; and going to alcohol, drug or anger management meetings and treatment. There have been 10 veterans who have successfully completed the Veterans Treatment Court since the program for misdemeanor offenders began in 2015. For more information about the Smith County Veterans Treatment Court, visit: www.smith-county.com
April 22: Fact of the Day: Beginning today, Smith County is holding early voting for City and School Elections in Tyler, Bullard, Chapel Hill and Winona. Early voting is held at The Hub, 304 E. Ferguson in Tyler, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, April 22, through Friday, April 26; and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, April 29, and Tuesday, April 30. Election Day is Saturday, May 4. This will be the first election Smith County voters will be able to use the new state-of-the-art voting machines! All of the machines are ADA compliant, have battery backups, a voter-verifiable paper trail, and a voter activation card with a barcode, eliminating human error when selecting which precinct a voter is casting their ballot. Check out this voting machine demo: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kaK2dTUJ4xCwYARtYF2AyEQOFuDEbIMz/view For more information about where and when to vote and what is on the ballot for the Smith County Elections, visit:
April 18: Fact of the Day: In conjunction with the law enforcement personnel, Smith County employs another 47 people in various courts, from the Justice of the Peace Courts and the County Courts-at-Law to the District Courts. These courts work hand-in-hand with the 44 employees of the District Clerk and County Clerk offices, as well as the 48 members of the Criminal District Attorneys’ Office. The law and order employee segment of Smith County exceeds 75 percent of the total employee headcount.
April 17: Fact of the Day: Of the 843 Smith County employees, 332 of them are involved in correctional activities in the Jail, the Juvenile Attention Center, or the Pre-Trial Release Department. Another 173 employees work in law enforcement positions with the Sheriffs’ Office, Emergency Dispatch, the County Fire Marshal’s Office, or one of the five Constable Offices spread throughout the county. This means that more than 500 of the county’s 843 employees are dedicated to law enforcement or corrections-related activities. The goal of all of these highly-trained professionals is to enforce the law equally to all persons, and to keep you and your businesses safe so you can grow and thrive in this community.
April 16: Fact of the Day: Smith County launched a new website during the summer of 2018, to make it easier for citizens to access financial information, contact county personnel and learn about news and upcoming events in county government. The website, www.smith-county.com, also allows you to conduct business online, such as pay your taxes or court fees or search public records.
April 15: Fact of the Day: In the past year, Smith County has begun to evaluate and resolve infrastructure issues in our many county-owned facilities. By focusing on replacing and upgrading our HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and roofing systems throughout the county, as well as our parking lots, we are working to ensure that our buildings will be used for decades to come. All of the work has been done using cash from our Capital Improvements Project Fund. Last week, contractors repaved and restriped the employee/visitor parking lot by the Smith County Courthouse Annex Building, 200 E. Ferguson.
April 11: Fact of the Day: In 2017, 73% of Smith County voters approved a $39.5 million road bond package for the first three years of a six-year road and bridge plan. In 2018, construction began on these projects and this year, we will begin focusing on year 2 projects. By the time the County completes its six-year plan, all 1,200 miles of road will be at or above standard. This intentional infrastructure upgrade is crucial to the economic growth of Smith County and each of its cities. Last year, economic growth in the unincorporated areas outpaced economic growth inside the municipalities. If you want to know more about the County’s road plan, and the projects planned for each road, visit: https://www.smith-county.com/i-want-to/view/county-road-projects
April 9: Fact of the Day: Smith County has received 13 consecutive Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards and eight consecutive Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Awards from the Government Finance Officers Association. It has also received the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award from the National Procurement Institute for the past two years. Few other counties across the state have received such distinctions for so long, and it is a testament to the strong and experienced financial team in our Auditor’s Office, Purchasing Department and Treasurer’s Office, among others. For Smith County’s financial information, visit: https://www.smith-county.com/government/departments/auditor/financials
April 8: Fact of the Day: Fiscal responsibility and transparency are at the center of Smith County’s commitment to the community. Few know that Smith County has the 12th lowest tax rate among 254 counties in the State of Texas. This puts the county in the best 5% across the state—regardless of size. And, Smith County’s actual tax rate of .33 cents has remained constant for the past five years, save for voter-approved bond funds for a Road & Bridge bond, which added just over seven-tenths of a penny to the tax rate. For more information on Smith County’s tax rate, visit: https://www.smith-county.com/home/showdocument?id=520
April 5: Fact of the Day: Smith County has new state-of-the-art voting machines, which will be used for the first time in the City/School Elections on May 4! The machines offer more features that will streamline what polling workers have to do on Election Day and will make the process more efficient, Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson said. All of the machines will be ADA compliant, have battery backups, a voter-verifiable paper trail, and a voter activation card with a barcode, eliminating human error when selecting which precinct a voter is casting their ballot. “These machines put the power in the voter’s hands to vote the way they need to,” Ms. Nelson said, when referring to a voter’s ability to change the language or font size on the machine when voting. Check out this demo: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kaK2dTUJ4xCwYARtYF2AyEQOFuDEbIMz/view
April 4: Fact of the Day: The Civil War and Reconstruction left the County in poor financial condition. Prosperity was returning by 1876 and the county opted to “modernize” the courthouse by adding a third floor with a mansard roof, a clock and bell tower, and decorative porches over the doors. The project went over budget and there were not enough funds for a clock. The clock hands were simply painted on the face! It did have the right time twice a day.
April 3: Fact of the Day: The Civil War and Reconstruction left the County in poor financial condition. Prosperity was returning by 1876 and the county opted to “modernize” the courthouse by adding a third floor with a mansard roof, a clock and bell tower, and decorative porches over the doors. The project went over budget and there were not enough funds for a clock. The clock hands were simply painted on the face! It did have the right time twice a day.
April 3: Fact of the Day: The first Smith County Courthouse was an abandoned log cabin in the 300 block of West Erwin Street. In 1847, a new log courthouse was built at about 116 East Ferguson, followed in 1849 by a log courthouse built on the square. The county prospered and in 1852, the first brick courthouse was built in the center of the downtown square. Two additional smaller buildings were erected for the county and district clerks’ offices. The log courthouse was moved to the 300 block of East Ferguson and was used as the jail.
EVENT: Smith County held its second annual County Government 101 Symposium Wednesday. About two dozen people attended the free event to learn about Elections, the Court System and Performance Measures. Speakers included retired 12th Court of Appeals Justice Sam Griffith, Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran, Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson and Smith County Budget Analyst Paul Feltes. The participants were given the chance to try out the new election machines, which will be used in the upcoming City/School Elections in May.
April 2: Fact of the Day: Five commissioners -- John Dewberry, William B. Duncan, James C. Hill, John Lollar and Elisha Lott -- were appointed by the Texas Legislature to select the boundaries of Smith County. The commissioners selected 300 acres on a hilltop near the center of Smith County as the new county seat. The county seat of Tyler was named after President John Tyler.
The current Smith County Commissioners are Jeff Warr, Precinct 1; Cary Nix, Precinct 2; Terry Phillips, Precinct 3; and JoAnn Hampton, Precinct 4. Nathaniel Moran serves as the Smith County Judge.
EVENT: Today during Commissioners Court, a resolution was adopted, proclaiming April 2019, as “National County Government Month” in Smith County. The resolution encourages all county officials, employees and residents to participate in county government activities planned throughout the month. The first event, the second annual County Government 101 Symposium, is scheduled for 9-11:45 a.m. Wednesday, April 2, at The Hub, 304 E. Ferguson. It is a free event and the public is welcome to attend to learn more about county government and the services it provides.
April 1: To kick off #NCGM, this week we will be sharing some of Smith County’s 173-year history.
Fact of the Day: Smith County was one of several new counties formed by the new Texas State Legislature in April of 1846. The county was named for General James Smith, who came to Texas in 1816, fought for Texas’ independence and served during the Indian Wars. Tyler, the county seat was named for President John Tyler, and was to be located within three miles of the center of the county. The actual location was west of the geographic center because of a large spring at the corner of Spring Avenue and Elm Street. The first town lots were sold in the fall of 1846.