Harris County Judge Ed Emmett

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. What is the population of Harris County?

Harris County is the nation’s third most populous county with more than 4 million (4,092,459) residents according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Harris County has a larger population than 24 states.

2. What on-line services does Harris County offer?

To see what on-line services are available to you click here.

3. What are the responsibilities of the County Judge?

The County Judge is the presiding officer and a voting member of Commissioners Court.

By state statute, the County Judge is the county’s director of emergency management.

In the role of presiding officer, the County Judge oversees all county government departments through the court's responsibility for approving annual budgets for the entire county. 
The County Judge, as an agent of the state, approves applications for beer licenses and waivers on mixed drink licenses. The County Judge also signs delayed certificates of birth and death and may perform wedding ceremonies. The County Judge is not required to be an attorney, but the Texas Constitution requires that the Judge be well informed in the law of the state.

4. Can Counties, like home-rule cities, create their own laws?

No. The Texas Constitution makes a county a legal subdivision of the state. The powers and duties of a county are limited to those specifically allowed by the constitution and laws of Texas. In urban counties such as Harris, the state has granted limited ordinance authority for special situations such as health care, exotic animals and other issues. 

5. What authority does Commissioners Court have over other county officials, e.g. the County Clerk, Tax Assessor-Collector, Sheriff, Constables, etc.?

Commissioners Court approves the budgets of other elected officials offices, but the elected official retains all other control over their respective operations. They are responsible to you as a taxpayer and voter. 

6. Who can you contact to express a concern about a District or County Court Judge?

Concerns about District and County Court Judges can be made to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct at this address:
P.O. Box 12265
Austin, Texas 78711-2265
512-463-5533

7. Who do you contact to make a claim against the County?

All letters of claim should be addressed to:
Harris County Judge
1001 Preston, Suite 911
Houston, Texas 77002

8. What is the relationship between Harris County and the Hospital District?

The Hospital District is a distinct legal and taxing entity. Commissioners Court approves the budget of the Hospital District, but has no other direct control of their operations. Commissioners Court appoints the nine member Hospital District Board of Managers.

9. What is the relationship between Harris County and the Harris County Appraisal District?

A major source of County funding is property taxes. Property appraisals are performed by the Harris County Appraisal District. Collection of taxes is the responsibility of the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector. The Harris County Appraisal District is by law a completely separate entity from Harris County. The day to day operations of the Appraisal District are run by the Chief Appraiser. The Chief Appraiser, in turn, reports to a five member board of directors. The board of directors serve a two year term and are nominated by the governing bodies of the county's different taxing units.

10. If I am not satisfied with the appraisal of my property, how can I protest? 

By May 15th of each year, the chief appraiser is required to send out notices of appraised value to property owners. If you do not agree with this appraisal, you have until June 1 or no later than the 30th day after the date that notice was delivered to file a written notice of protest with the appraisal review board. The form for this written notice of protest is included as part of the notice of appraised value.
Once this notice of protest is received, the Appraisal District will schedule a hearing of the protest. Many protests can be resolved at this meeting, but should you still not be satisfied there are additional steps of appeal available. 
To learn more about this appeal procedure, contact the Harris County Appraisal District at P.O. Box 920957, Houston, Texas 77292-0975, phone 713-683-9200.

11. I am interested in bidding on foreclosed properties, when are the property auctions held?

Foreclosure sales are held the first Tuesday of every month at the Family Law Center, located at 1115 Congress, Houston 77002.

12. I have been issued a traffic citation by the Harris County Sheriff's Department, where do I go and who do I contact to make arrangements for payment?

Traffic citations issued by the Sheriff's Department are handled by the Justice of the Peace of the precinct in which you received the ticket. The particular Justice of the Peace precinct will be noted on the ticket. The addresses and phone numbers for the J.P.'s are listed below:

Precinct 1, Place 1, 7300 N. Shepherd, Rm. 138, HOUSTON 77091 713-697-1224
Precinct 1, Place 2, 1302 Preston, HOUSTON 77002 713-755-5125
Precinct 2, Place 1, 10851 Scarsdale, Ste. 500, HOUSTON 281-481-9630
Precinct 2, Place 2, 701 S. Richey, PASADENA 77506 713-274-6100
Precinct 3, Place 1, 14350 Wallisville Rd., HOUSTON 77049 713-450-2409
Precinct 3, Place 2, 701 W. Baker Rd., BAYTOWN 77521 281-427-7449
Precinct 4, Place 1, 6831 Cypresswood Dr., Ste. #4, SPRING 281-401-7400
Precinct 4, Place 2, 7900 Will Clayton Parkway, HUMBLE 77338 281-446-7191
Precinct 5, Place 1, 6000 Chimney Rock, Ste. 102, HOUSTON 77081 713-661-2276
Precinct 5, Place 2, 16715 Clay Rd., Ste. #4, HOUSTON 281-463-2341
Precinct 6, Place 1, 333 Lockwood, 1st Floor, HOUSTON 77011 713-921-1576
Precinct 6, Place 2, 1001 Macario Garcia, HOUSTON 77011 713-921-6141
Precinct 7, Place 1, 5737 Cullen, HOUSTON 77021 713-747-3553
Precinct 7, Place 2, 5300 Griggs Rd., 2nd Floor, HOUSTON 77021 713-643-1512
Precinct 8, Place 1, 7330 Spencer Hwy., PASADENA 77505 281-479-6900
Precinct 8, Place 2, 16603 Buccaneer, HOUSTON 77062 281-488-8780

13. What court handles small claims?

Claims of not more than $10,000 are handled in the Justice of the Peace Courts. If your claim is against a business, it should be filed in the Justice of the Peace precinct in which the business is located. If the claim is against an individual it should be filed in the Justice of the Peace precinct in which the individual resides.

14. I have a dispute with a business or individual, but I would prefer not to take them to court; does the County offer any services to help?

Yes, the Dispute Resolution Center, staffed by volunteer mediators, is available to resolve disputes outside a court setting. The Center is located at 49 San Jacinto, Suite 220, Houston 77002. The Director, Nicholas Hall is available to help explain this service to you at 713-755-8274.

15. I receive or pay child support and I want to know the status of my latest payment. What can I do?


The District Clerk’s Office has an online payment tracking system available at http://apps.jims.hctx.net/childsupport/.  Please call 713-755-6077 for assistance by telephone.

16. There are loose dogs creating a disturbance near my home, does the County have animal control services?

Yes.  The number to the Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services - Veterinary Public Health Division is:  281-999-3191.

17. I want to register to vote, find out what voting precinct I live, receive an application for a ballot by mail or I have some other election-related issue -- who do I call?

To register to vote call 713-368-VOTE (8683).
Or log on to http://www.hctax.net/voter/voterintro.aspx.

18. Where do I go to get a marriage license?

Marriage licenses can be obtained at the Harris County Civil Court House, 201 Caroline. For more information on marriage licenses logon to http://www.cclerk.hctx.net/.  In general, you must be 18 years of age or older and be able to present proof of your age and ID at the time of application. There is a 72 hour waiting period following receipt of the license until you can get married. The marriage license is good for 30 days.

19. I have just been called for jury duty. How is my name chosen? Do I receive any reimbursement? Are there any exemptions?

Names chosen to serve jury duty are taken from those people who have been issued a Texas State Drivers License, a Texas State Identification Card, a license other than a drivers license and voting registration lists. The jury wheel is reconstituted every calendar year.

To learn more about jury duty, logon to http://www.hcdistrictclerk.com/Home/Home.aspx.

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1001 Preston, Suite 911, Houston, Texas 77002
Phone: 713-755-4000    Fax: 713-755-8379