TCAA NEWS
(Volume 3, Issue 8 – September 2008)
“Your Source for Information About the Texas City Attorneys Association”
News and Updates

TCAA Adult Business Study Seminar: In 2007, the Texas City Attorneys Association (TCAA) Board of Directors commissioned a study to determine the extent that retail-only adult businesses with no on-premises entertainment cause harmful secondary effects on surrounding property values and ambient crime rates.

The study was funded by TCAA and several cities and is divided into two parts: (1) a survey of Texas appraisers; and (2) a study of crime-related secondary effects. Part one of the study was authored by Connie B. Cooper, FAICP, and Eric Damian Kelly, FAICP, Ph.D. Part two was authored by Richard McCleary, Ph.D. The results of the study indicate that property values and ambient crime rates are negatively affected by the presence of retail-only adult businesses. The full document is available online at:

http://www.texascityattorneys.org/pdf/StudyofSecondaryEffectsCrime_Final.pdf

You (or the city you represent) are invited to send (at no charge) a representative to a seminar at which the authors will discuss their findings. The seminar will be held on Friday, October 3, 2008, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the City of North Richland Hills city council chambers. The City of North Richland Hills is located slightly northeast of Fort Worth, is approximately fifteen miles from the D/FW airport, and is approximately 27 miles from Dallas Love Field. The city council chambers are located in city hall at 7301 N.E. Loop 820, North Richland Hills, Texas, 76180.

Please RSVP by September 29, 2008, with the attendee name, city, and title to Tiffany Ducummon, TCAA legal assistant, at tiffany@tml.org. Space is limited, and reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The TCAA Fall Conference will be held in conjunction with the TML Annual Conference on October 30, 2008, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. Special thanks to our sponsor:

Nichols, Jackson, Dillard, Hager & Smith, LLP

Topics will include (1) recent state and federal cases; (2) key construction law issues for city attorneys; (3) sign law; (4) cutting edge economic development tools; (5) ethics; and (6) legislative forecast. Attorneys can earn up to 4.75 MCLE hours, including 1 ethics hour.

The City of San Antonio and Denton, Navarro, Rocha & Bernal, P.C., will host a pre-conference reception on the evening of Wednesday, October 29, 2008. The reception will be held from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in the Grotto on the River Level (River Level Room 007).

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER. (Note: The exact schedule for the TCAA event is available under "Affiliate Programs," and most attorneys who will not be attending the entire TML Annual Conference will want to choose the “one-day registration” option.)

TCAA to Fill Board Position on October 30, 2008: Those interested in applying for a place on the board should fill out an application and return it via e-mail to Scott Houston at legalgovt@tml.org. Application forms are available on the front page of TCAA’s Web site at www.texascityattorneys.org and must be received by 5:00 p.m. on October 10, 2008. Pursuant to the TCAA Constitution, the TCAA president has appointed a three-member nominating committee to make a recommendation to the membership on the applications. The members of that committee are: (1) Tyrone Cooper, City Attorney, Beaumont (Chair); (2) Diane Wetherbee, City Attorney, Plano; and (3) Ignacio Ramirez, City Attorney, Baytown.

Municipal Attorney Job Openings: For the most recent Texas Municipal League classifieds postings, please click here.

TML/TCAA Legal Defense Program
Amicus Brief, Attorney General Opinion, and State Agency Comments Filed

Takings: The City of Houston, Texas v. Trail Enterprises, No. 08-0413, in the Supreme Court of Texas. This appeal challenges the court of appeals’ judgment awarding Trail Enterprises $16.8 million as a result of the city’s vitally important effort to protect the community’s drinking water supply. The court of appeal’s opinion constitutes an anomalous legal precedent that threatens to seriously undermine the authority of local governments in Texas and around the country to control water pollution and protect other aspects of the public welfare. In the case, the city imposed various regulations that prohibited oil drilling around Lake Houston. TML and TCAA, joined by the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the International Municipal Lawyers Association, argued – among other things – that a regulatory takings claim is not ripe for adjudication if the claimant has not filed a single development application or taken any other affirmative step to obtain a final and authoritative determination from the governmental defendant about the type and intensity of development legally permitted under an ordinance. The petition for review was filed on May 29, 2008, and a decision is pending.

Cell Tower Siting: WT Docket No. 08-165, In the Matter of Petition for Declaratory Ruling to Clarify Provisions of Section 332(c)(7)(B) to Ensure Timely Siting Review and to Preempt under Section 253 State and Local Ordinances that Classify All Wireless Siting Proposals as Requiring a Variance, Petition for Declaratory Ruling. CTIA, the wireless association, is seeking FCC preemption over local zoning of wireless phone tower locations. CTIA complains that local zoning procedures have the effect of limiting competition in the provision of wireless phone service. Specifically, CTIA is requesting that the FCC: (1) impose a 45-day or 75-day “shot clock” on local zoning decisions regarding wireless towers; (2) interpret Section 332(c)(7) of the federal Telecommunications Act (Act) as barring any local zoning decision that prevents a wireless provider from offering service in an area where another wireless carrier is already providing service; and (3) interpret Section 253 of the Act as preempting any local zoning that would, for example, require a wireless tower to comply with a zoning variance process. TML argued – among other things – that CTIA’s request ignores the wishes of city residents and would have the effect of making the FCC a “national zoning board.”

Recent Texas Cases of Interest to Cities
Note: Included cases are from the period beginning on the 10th of the previous month through the 10th of the current month.

Utility Rates: County of Reeves v. Texas Comm’n on Envtl. Quality, et. al., No. 03-07-00427-CV (Tex. App.—Austin Aug. 28, 2008). The city’s water utility, which provided service to areas outside the city limits, adopted an ordinance setting higher water and wastewater rates. Pursuant to Texas Water Code Section 13.043(i), the city sent individual written notice of the rate increase to each ratepayer outside the city limits. The ratepayers who lived outside the city limits (known as “outside ratepayers”), including Reeves County, initiated an appeal of the rate increase by filing a petition for review with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) including signatures of at least ten percent of eligible outside ratepayers, as authorized by Texas Water Code Section 13.043(b)(3). The TCEQ rejected the group’s first petition as incomplete, and finally rejected a second petition by citing a failure to conform to 30 Tex. Admin. Code §291.42.

The rules created by the TCEQ in order to carry out the requirements of Chapter 13 of the Texas Water Code include specific requirements of a petition seeking a review by the TCEQ of rates. 30 TEX. ADMIN. CODE §291.42. The rule requires on each page of the petition, among other information: (1) a “clear and concise statement” that the petition is an appeal of a water or sewer utility rate change; (2) a “concise description and date of that rate action”; (3) the name, telephone number, and street address of each signer; and (4) any other information the TCEQ may require. Id. The case in question centers mainly on what the “concise description…of [the] rate action” required on each page by the rule must be defined as in practice. A pamphlet published by the TCEQ entitled “Appealing a Rate Change Decision Made by a Board of Directors, a City Council, or County Commissioners” includes a sample petition. This “sample petition” lists both the old rates and the new rates.

In this case, the outside ratepayers failed to include on each page of either petition submitted to the agency a listing of both the old rates and the new rates, which the TCEQ argued was a necessary part of the agency’s interpretation of the rule language requiring “a concise description of the rate action.” Id. The petitions did, however, include language specifically stating that the petition was in response to a change in water rates by the city-owned water utility, and the old and new rates were attached. The second petition included all the address and phone number information required, but the pagination was irregular, and each page did not include the language sought by the TCEQ regarding the rate changes.

The TCEQ stated that without the new and old rates clearly described in the manner laid out in the sample petition, it would be difficult or impossible to ascertain if the signatures were from affected outside ratepayers, especially considering that some petitions included thousands of signatures. The agency also argued that requiring a statement of old and new rates on any page with signatures enables the TCEQ to ensure that the signatories knew what they were signing when they signed the petition.

The court reviewed the TCEQ’s decision in this case under the substantial evidence rule, which includes the review of agency fact findings for support by substantial evidence, the review of legal conclusions for errors of law, and then decide whether, in the light of the evidence, reasonable minds could have reached the same conclusion as the agency. If not, the court must find that the agency acted in an arbitrary manner, and reverse and remand the decision.

The court held that because the city is required to notify all outside ratepayers of a tax increase with an individual written notice, the legislature necessarily contemplated that the utility would know or should be able to find out which of the outside ratepayers were affected by the rate change, what their new rates were, and their mailing addresses. The TCEQ had a list of all outside taxpayers affected by the rate change, created by the city’s utility in order to send the individual notice required by Texas Water Code 13.143. In light of this, the court found that the agency’s argument that it could not confirm that the ratepayers on the petition were affected by the rate change without the description of the rate change laid out on each signature page was not reasonable.

The court found that there is no particular consequence for not complying with Rule 291.42, particularly not a sanction of dismissal for “failure to prosecute,” and that the second petition was in compliance with the enabling legislation by having signatures of more than ten percent of outside ratepayers whose rates were changed. TEX. WATER CODE §13.043(b), 30 TEX. ADMIN. CODE §291.42. The court held that the agency’s interpretation and application of the rule and subsequent dismissal of the outside ratepayers’ case for failing to include information that was ultimately unnecessary to reach the goal for which the information was required fell far below the substantial evidence standard. This interpretation, the court stated, subverted the legislature’s intent and deprived the outside ratepayers of their statutory rights. In light of the fact that the petition met the statutory requirements of Texas Water Code 13.043, a fact the court felt was easily confirmed with information the TCEQ had available, the court reversed the decision, remanding the case to the TCEQ for further deliberation.

Annexation: Ryan Servs., Inc., et. al. v. Phillip Spenrath et. al., No. 13-08-00105-CV (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi Aug. 28, 2008) (mem. op.). In 2007, the City of El Campo annexed Ryan’s property. Ryan then submitted a petition pursuant to the initiative and referendum (I&R) provision in the city’s charter requesting that the annexation be put to a vote of the city’s residents. The city council, after being advised by the city attorney that annexation ordinances are not subject to I&R, took no action on the petition.

Ryan sought mandamus, injunctive, and declaratory relief to force the city council to order an election. The city filed a plea to the jurisdiction, claiming that Ryan did not have standing to bring the suit, and that the trial court had no jurisdiction, because the only proper method to challenge a procedural issue in an annexation is through an action in quo warranto.

The court, citing the recent Supreme Court of Texas decision in City of Rockwall v. Hughes, discussed the doctrine of quo warranto and the difference between void and voidable annexations. Ryan contended that various “multiple instances of misconduct” rendered the annexation ordinance void. Those included: (1) the city did not consider the I&R petition; (2) “an unelected attorney held the council hostage, and no discussion was ever held regarding the petitions”; (3) the city council never called for a vote; (4) no public vote took place in the city as required by charter or in the annexed area as required by the Local Government Code; and (5) the city failed to provide the citizens of the affected area the right to vote.

The court concluded that the alleged irregularities, even if true, are procedural and thus do not confer standing on Ryan. No case stands for proposition that cumulative procedural irregularities render an annexation ordinance void. In other words, Ryan did not challenge the procedures up to the adoption of the annexation ordinance, but rather “what happened later when [the city] failed to follow the charter which then renders those ordinances now void absent a vote.”

As for the substance of Ryan’s claim that the annexation ordinance is subject to the charter’s I&R provisions, the court relied on multiple prior cases to reaffirm that annexation ordinances are not subject to I&R.

Ryan, in a last ditch effort, argued that the failure of the city council to put the annexation to a vote of the residents of the annexed area violated the residents’ constitutional right to vote. Though recognizing how precious the right to vote is, the court summarily dismissed Ryan’s argument because it presented no justiciable due process question.

The court ultimately affirmed the city’s plea to the jurisdiction. It appears that either Ryan’s arguments in the case were based on complete ignorance of the annexation process, or that Ryan had a dogged advocate with an emotional connection to the case who tried every arrow in his quiver to cause so much trouble, cost, and political controversy that the city would be forced to repeal its annexation ordinance. It is probably the latter, because Ryan’s lawyer shares his name. His lawyer is his son.

Takings: City of Sherman v. James Wayne, No. 05-06-00420-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Aug. 18, 2008). In 2001, James Wayne purchased 9.3 acres of property in the City of Sherman from the Texas National Guard through a bid process. The property contained mostly undeveloped land, but also contained an armory, a vehicle storage building, and a parking lot. The armory and vehicle storage building were operated by the Texas National Guard from 1958 through 1999. That use continued after 1964 despite the fact that, in that year, the city passed an R-1 (one- and two-family residential district) zoning ordinance on the property that prohibited all commercial and industrial uses. Wayne purchased the property for $126,307.92 under the assumption that he could continue to use the buildings for commercial purposes. He believed that because the structures on the property were built and used prior to the enactment of the zoning ordinance, the property was “grandfathered” and therefore not subject to the ordinance. Upon learning of the city’s intentions of enforcing the residential zoning ordinance, Wayne applied to change the designation to C-2 (commercial general purpose). His application was denied by the city, and Wayne filed a regulatory taking lawsuit.

At trial, the jury found that the market value of the property when the residential zoning ordinance was enforced was zero, and without the ordinance enforced the value was $250,000. Upon Wayne’s movement for judgment on the verdict, the trial court found that the regulatory taking claim was ripe for judicial determination and that the application of the residential zoning ordinance to Wayne’s property was a compensable regulatory taking. Wayne was awarded damages of $250,000 plus prejudgment interest.

On appeal, the city claimed that the application of the zoning ordinance did not constitute a regulatory taking because it did not deprive Wayne of all economically viable uses of the property. The United States Supreme Court has established that when a property owner is “called upon to sacrifice all economically beneficial uses in the name of the common good, that is, to leave his property economically idle, he has suffered a taking.” Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003, 1019 (1992).

Here, the city claims that the property maintains some value, making a regulatory taking under the Lucas decision impossible. Although the city points to two appraisals of the property at issue to show that the property did have some value, the court saw these appraisals as opinions based on several assumptions, and in accordance with previous rulings by the Texas Supreme Court, determined that “opinion is at best something of a speculation, and the question of market value is peculiarly one for the fact finding body.” See Texas Pipe Line Co. v. Hunt, 149 Tex. 33, 41, 228 S.W.2d 151, 156 (1950). Accordingly, the court held that the trial court’s determination that the property had no economically viable use when the zoning ordinance applied to it is supported by the jury’s finding that the market value of the property is zero under the strictures of the zoning ordinance.

The city also contends that the evidence presented at trial was legally and factually insufficient to support the finding that the market value of the property at issue was reduced to zero when the zoning ordinance applied. But the court concluded that the evidence was legally sufficient to support the jury’s determination of market value, as the evidence was not so weak as to render the finding clearly wrong and unjust.

In support of its holding that sufficient evidence was presented, the court pointed to expert testimony that Wayne’s property was worthless when the zoning ordinance applied and removal costs for the structures on the property, which both contained asbestos and lead, were factored in. The court also recounted Wayne’s argument that there exists no evidence in the record to show that other bidders for the property in 2001 were willing to purchase the property if they knew that it was zoned residential, and that tax appraisals are not indicative of market value because they rarely reflect the true market value of a property.

Lastly, the city filed a motion to modify the trial court’s judgment to vest title to the property in the city upon satisfaction of the judgment, which was overruled at the trial level. On appeal, the court held that the natural result of Wayne’s lawsuit would require title to pass to the city upon payment of just compensation. As a result, on the satisfaction of the judgment, the right, title, and interest of Wayne in the property was held to pass to the city. The city council has preliminarily decided not to appeal the opinion.

Takings: AVM-HOU, Ltd., v. Capital Met. Trans. Auth., No. 03-07-00566-CV (Tex. App.—Austin Aug. 29, 2008). This case involves a condemnation award for an adult business lessee where the condemned property was specially zoned for adult businesses. Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Cap Metro) condemned real property owned by the adult business, AVM-HOU, Ltd. (AVM), located in Austin. AVM had operated a business on the property as a lessee. After the property was condemned, the property owner and AVM (as lessee) received an award that was apportioned between the two parties.

AVM then filed suit in the trial court against Cap Metro, seeking compensation for the taking of its business, based on the theory that because AVM was unable to relocate its business due to the lack of adult business zoned property in the area, the taking of the real property resulted in a taking of the business.

The Texas Constitution prohibits a governmental entity from taking private property without paying adequate compensation:

No person's property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person; and, when taken, except for the use of the State, such compensation shall be first made, or secured by a deposit of money;…

TEX. CONST. Art. I, Sec. 17. To establish an inverse takings claim, a plaintiff must prove that a governmental entity intentionally performed certain acts that resulted in a “taking” of property for public use. Gen. Servs. Comm'n v. Little-Tex Insulation Co., 39 S.W.3d 591, 598 (Tex.2001); “Just compensation***where an entire property is taken, is the market value of the property, and where a part is taken, it is the value of the part taken and damages to the remainder by the taking and use of the part for the purpose proposed.” Reeves v. City of Dallas, 195 S.W.2d 575, 582 (Tex. Civ. App. 1946)). In a condemnation action, lost profits for a business located on the property are not recoverable as a separate item of damages over and above the fair market value of the land, but can be included in calculating the condemnation award. State v. Travis, 722 S.W.2d 698, 698-99 (Tex. 1987); State v. Sungrowth VI, Cal., Ltd., 713 S.W.2d 175, 177 (Tex.App.—Austin 1986, writ ref'd n.r.e.).

Both Cap Metro and AVM filed traditional motions for summary judgment on whether AVM could establish its inverse condemnation claim. Cap Metro argued that AVM was not entitled to any additional compensation under an inverse condemnation claim because: (1) inverse condemnation occurs when a land owner seeks compensation for property taken for public use without formal condemnation proceedings having been instituted, and in this case both the land owner and the lessee were involved in formal condemnation proceedings and were compensated; (2) there is no cause of action in Texas for a lessee to recover lost profits of a business located upon property that was acquired, in its entirety, for public use by eminent domain; (3) even if such a cause of action existed, AVM never established or operated its planned adult business at the location; and (4) the formal condemnation award included a premium for the sexually oriented business zoning.

The trial court granted Cap Metro’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed all of AVM's claims. TML and TCAA filed an amicus brief that argued, among other things, that the trial court should be affirmed because business value damages are not appropriate where the entire piece of real property is condemned and the fair market value is awarded. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment that there is no cause of action in Texas for compensation for the lost business profits.

Takings: City of Dallas v. Peary A. Zetterlund, No. 05-07-01378-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Aug. 15, 2008). The court held that the city was liable for inverse condemnation for the actual invasion of the property because the city knew it was on the property and the use of the property benefited a city project. The court held that the city was not liable for impairment of access to the property because the city’s use of the property did not impede access to the landowner’s property.

Water Rights: Brownsville Irritation Dist.t et. al. v. Tex. Comm’n on Envtl. Quality, et. al., No. 03-06-00690-CV (Tex. App.—Austin Aug. 28, 2008). The court held that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) properly allowed a party authorized to divert water from the Rio Grande River to change the location of and the purpose for that diversion of water because neither the Texas Water Code nor the applicable rules define what constitutes “an applicable conversion factor.” The TCEQ may exercise discretion in deciding what kind of conversion factor to apply in each case.

Civil Service: City of Temple v. Steven Taylor, No. 03-07-00630-CV (Tex. App.—Austin Aug. 27, 2008). The court held that a city employee’s back pay award must be reduced by the amount of compensation earned from other sources during the period of suspension under the Civil Service Act, Chapter 143 of the Local Government Code.

Civil Service: Kris Carr v. City of Fort Worth, No. 2-07-375-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Aug. 26, 2008). The court held that an employee’s indefinite suspension created a vacancy in the fire department, even though the suspension letter was never filed with the civil service commission, and that the vacancy had to be filled from the promotion eligibility list within 60 days of the vacancy under the Civil Service Act, Chapter 143 of the Local Government Code.

Sovereign Immunity – Tort: City of Dallas v. Manuel Giraldo, et. al., No. 05-07-00023-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Aug. 25, 2008). The court held that the trial court should have granted the city’s plea to the jurisdiction under the Tort Claims Act because dirt on a road is not a special defect where an ordinary user of a road should expect to encounter dirt.

Open Meetings Act: City of Austin v. Savetownlake.org, No. 03-07-00410-CV (Tex. App.—Austin Aug. 22, 2008) (mem. op.). The court held that Savetownlake.org had standing to bring an Open Meetings Act claim because any member of the public may bring such a claim under the Act, and that the remainder of the city’s arguments about insufficient evidence, mootness, and ripeness were more appropriate in a motion for summary judgment.

Open Meetings Act: Anthony Rogers v. City of McAllen, No. 13-07-00278-CV (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi Aug. 21, 2008) (mem. op.). The court held that the agenda notice of “possible action regarding Chief Rogers’s job performance and employment” was sufficient under the Open Meetings Act to discuss and terminate Chief Rogers’s employment.

Sovereign Immunity – Contract: Winship Constr., Inc. v. City of Portland, No. 13-07-371-CV (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi Aug. 21, 2008) (mem. op.). The court held that the plaintiff raised a fact issue in its claim that the parties agreed to allow extra time for completion because of delays outside of the plaintiff’s control. The court allowed the claims to go forward despite the city’s motion for summary judgment.

Whistleblower Act: City of Fort Worth v. Linda J. Shilling, No. 2-07-410-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Aug. 21, 2008). The court held that whether a grievance procedure is “initiated” under the Whistleblower Act is a fact question and that an individual cannot bring a Texas Commission on Human Rights Act complaint about a grievance on which a Whistleblower Act complaint has already been filed.

Sales Tax: The State of Texas, City of Houston, et. al. v. Steve Crawford, No. 03-07-00622-CV (Tex. App.—Austin Aug 21, 2008). The court held that the sales tax defendants did not act with “knowledge” and “reckless disregard” in not paying their sales tax under Chapter 111 of the Tax Code, and therefore were not subject to individual liability.

Civil Rights: City of Dallas v. Dora Saucedo-Falls, et. al., No. 05-08-00029-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Aug. 18, 2008). The court held that a plea to the jurisdiction is the proper procedure for a Section 1983 claim that fails to allege a vested property right and that a federal Fifth Amendment claim is not ripe until state law takings claims have been finished.

Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities
Note: Included opinions are from the period beginning on the 10th of the previous month through the 10th of the current month.

Opinion No. GA-0660 (Dangerous Dogs): concludes that a municipal court established under Government Code Chapter 29 has jurisdiction under Health and Safety Code Section 822.042(c) over a compliance application filed under that section if the court also has territorial and personal jurisdiction. Such a municipal court also has jurisdiction under Health and Safety Code Section 822.0421(b) over an appeal of a municipal animal control authority's dangerous-dog determination made under Section 822.0421(a) if the court also has territorial jurisdiction. The phrase "court of competent jurisdiction" in Section 822.0421(b) refers to a court with territorial jurisdiction over the matter.

A municipal court may not, on the grounds of a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, refuse to hear an appeal of a dangerous-dog determination by a municipal animal control authority if the court has territorial jurisdiction. The court may, however, determine that it does not have territorial jurisdiction. A dog owner may file an appeal of a municipal animal control authority's dangerous-dog determination with any municipal court, justice court, or county court – all of which have jurisdiction under section 822.042(c) – that also has territorial jurisdiction. A municipal court may not transfer a dangerous-dog determination to a county or justice court and is obligated to hear the appeal. A municipality may not, by order of its animal control authority or otherwise, dictate the court to which a dog owner may appeal a dangerous-dog determination if more than one court has subject-matter, including territorial, jurisdiction.

Opinion No. GA-0662 (Civil Service): concludes that Section 143.014 of the Local Government Code, a provision of the Fire Fighter and Police Officer Civil Service Act, authorizes a municipal governing body to allow a fire chief to appoint a limited number of persons to the classification immediately below him without following the usual civil service appointment process. When a municipality that is subject to the Civil Service Act adopts Local Government Code Chapter 174, the Fire and Police Employees Relations Act, Subsection 143.014(c), limiting the number of deputies who may be appointed, becomes inapplicable to the municipality. These limits may be reimposed if the municipality specifically adopts them through the collective bargaining process.

For purposes of Subsection 143.014(c), the Fire and Police Employees Relations Act is adopted by an election held pursuant to Section 174.051 of the Local Government Code. The limits in Subsection 143.014(c) on the number of deputies who may be appointed become inapplicable in the municipality at this time.

Opinion No. GA-0664 (Donations): concludes that Article III, Section 52(a), of the Texas Constitution does not permit a county to gratuitously grant county funds to an independent school district or open-enrollment charter school. A county may make a payment to such a school district or charter school only to accomplish a county purpose. A court would likely determine that a county does not have the authority to grant county funds for general purposes of an independent school district or open-enrollment charter school.

You can view attorney general opinions at www.oag.state.tx.us. On the same site, you can also sign up to receive e-mail updates of opinion requests and newly released opinions.

As a supplement to TCAA News, please check the TML Legislative Update Newsletter and TML’s Connect News Service .
Please contact Scott Houston, TCAA General Counsel, with your news, questions, and/or comments by e-mail at legalgovt@tml.org or by phone at 512-231-7400.
TCAA members may use the information herein for any purpose. No other person may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas City Attorneys Association.
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