April 21, 2017, Number 16

Download the full April 21, 2017, Number 16 (PDF).

Capitol Crunch Time: Here’s How to Make a Difference for Your City Next Week

It’s the time of legislative session when a number of important city issues hang in the balance.  Below is list of critical action items that city officials should consider over the next few days.  Not every city official cares equally about each issue.  So pick one or two that matter most to your city and take action now!

DON’T FORGET: Mandatory Local Debt Reporting

House Bill 1378, passed during the 2015 legislative session, requires every city to annually report various figures related to the city’s amount of debt. A city can satisfy the reporting requirement in one of two ways: (1) compile the requisite debt information in a self-created report that is posted to the city’s website; or (2) complete the state comptroller’s online debt reporting form and either: (a) upload it to the comptroller’s website; or (b) post to the city’s website.

The comptroller’s office recently updated its H.B. 1378 webpage to include a “Local Entity Debt Lookup” feature. As of this writing, 219 Texas cities have posted their debt reports on the comptroller’s website. 

The local debt information required to be in the annual report, whether created by the city or by using the comptroller’s form, is as follows:

  1. The amount of all authorized debt obligations;
  2. The principal of all outstanding debt obligations;
  3. The principal of each outstanding debt obligation;
  4. The combined principal and interest required to pay all outstanding debt obligations on time and in full;
  5. The combined principal and interest required to pay each outstanding debt obligation on time and in full;
  6. The amounts required by Nos. 1-5 limited to authorized and outstanding debt obligations secured by property taxes, expressed as a total amount and per capita amount;
  7. The following for each debt obligation: (a) the issued and unissued amount; (b) the spent and unspent amount; (c) the maturity date; and (d) the stated purpose for which the debt obligation was authorized;
  8. The current credit rating given by any nationally recognized credit rating organization to debt obligations of the political subdivision; and
  9. Any other information that the political subdivision considers relevant or necessary to explain the values.

The comptroller’s office has posted a draft version (PDF) of its administrative rules governing the reporting process.  The draft indicates that deadlines for reporting will be: (1) within 210 days of the end of the city’s fiscal year in 2016; and (2) within 180 days of the end of the most recently completed fiscal year after 2016. Note: If the city’s fiscal year ends September 30th, the comptroller’s draft rules require that the report be submitted by April 28, 2017. 

Please contact Bill Longley, TML Legislative Counsel, with questions about the reporting requirements by email or (512) 231-7400. 

Significant Committee Actions

H.B. 245 (Johnson), relating to the consequence for a law enforcement agency’s failure to comply with reporting requirements for certain injuries or deaths caused by peace officers.  Reported from the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety.

H.B. 907 (Shaheen), relating to a form prescribed by the secretary of state for certain petitions.  Reported from the House Committee on Elections.

H.B. 1704 (Kuempel), relating to the award of court costs and attorney's fees in actions to determine the applicability of certain local government regulations.  Reported from the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence.

H.B. 1983 (Wray), relating to the eligibility of a firefighter or a peace officer for workers' compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder.  Reported from the House Committee on Business and Industry.

H.B. 3193 (Alvarado), relating to the relationship between public employers and fire and police employees.  Reported from the House Committee on Urban Affairs.

Significant Floor Actions

S.B. 451 (Hancock), relating to regulation of short-term rentals by municipalities and counties.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 655 (Bettencourt), relating to certain notice of the extent of a municipality or its extraterritorial jurisdiction.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 1215 (Hughes), relating to responsibility for the consequences of defects in the plans, specifications, or other documents for the construction or repair of an improvement to real property.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 1248 (Buckingham), relating to municipal regulation of manufactured home communities.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 1296 (Huffman), relating to the review of ballot proposition language for certain political subdivisions on elections.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 1408 (Huffman), relating to the carrying of a handgun by certain first responders and volunteer emergency services personnel.  Passed the Senate.

City Officials Testify

When the legislature is in session, nothing compares to the effectiveness of city officials testifying at the Capitol. City officials who take their time to travel to Austin to speak out on important city issues should be applauded by us all. The League extends its thanks to all those who have vigilantly represented cities during the legislative session.

  • Buddy Garcia, Brownsville Public Utilities Board
  • Byron Hebert, City Administrator, City of Katy
  • Christopher Mosley, Senior Assistant City Attorney, City of Fort Worth
  • Christopher Trusty, Garland Police Department
  • Danny Earp, Councilmember, City of La Porte
  • David Parsons, City Manager, City of Port Aransas
  • Douglas Athas, Mayor, City of Garland
  • Eric Friedland, Assistant City Attorney, City of San Antonio
  • Fred Garcia, Clerk of the Court, San Antonio Municipal Court
  • George Salzman, City Administrator, City of LaCoste
  • James Jones, San Antonio Police Department
  • Jessica Anderson, Houston Police Department
  • Joe Zimmerman, Mayor, City of Sugar Land
  • Joel Villarreal, Mayor, Rio Grande City
  • John Bull, Presiding Judge, City of San Antonio Municipal Court
  • Johnny Spires, Assistant Chief of Police, City of Pearland
  • Joseph Molis, Director of Planning and Development, City of Harker Heights
  • Lanny Lambert, City Manager, City of Converse
  • Lucien Ball, City of Austin
  • Lyle Grimes, Councilmember, City of Cedar Park
  • Mark Sossi, City Attorney, City of Brownsville
  • Michael Wolfe, Mayor, City of Hempstead
  • Nathan Watkins, Assistant City Manager, City of Mont Belvieu
  • Olin Lane, Mayor, City of University Park
  • Randy Howell, University Park Fire Department
  • Richard Aubin, Councilmember, City of Garland
  • Richard Bunch III, Chairman, The Woodlands Township
  • Robbie Corder, City Manager, City of University Park
  • Scott Halty, Director of Resource Protection and Compliance, San Antonio Water System
  • Shannon Miller, Director of the Office of Historic Preservation, City of San Antonio
  • Steve Adler, Mayor, City of Austin
  • Tom Dodds, Chief of Staff, Austin Fire Department
  • Tom Tvardzik, Director of Finance, City of University Park

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.