January 14, 2022, Number 2
Download the full .pdf version here: TML Legislative Update Number 2
texas demographic center to host webinar on u.s. census count question resolution operation
The Texas Demographic Center will host a webinar on the U.S. Census Count Question Resolution (CQR) operation on January 27, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. The CQR provides cities an opportunity to request that the Census Bureau review their boundaries and/or housing count to correct any potential errors that may have occurred while processing the 2020 Census counts.
The webinar will provide an overview of the CQR operation and answer questions from participants. Registration is required to attend the webinar.
governor announces grants to military communities
Governor Abbott announced a round of $15.3 million in grants from the Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC) Defense Economic Adjustment Assistant Grant (DEAAG) program. The DEAAG program is a grant program that invests in infrastructure projects and other initiatives to increase the military value in Texas military installations to help prevent any potential future Base Realignment and Closure round (BRAC) from occurring in Texas.
The following cities will receive FY2022 – 2023 DEAAG reimbursements:
- City of Abilene: $375,000 for 5G and Fiber Expansion at Dyess Air Force Base
- City of Corpus Christi: $800,000 for Clear Zone Easement supporting Naval Air Station Corpus Christi
- City of Fort Worth: $1,900,000 for Military Family Advocacy Resource Center Renovation at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth
- City of San Antonio: $5,000,000 for Infrastructure and Force Protection Measures at Joint Base San Antonio
- City of Temple: $5,000,000 for Microgrid at Robert Gray Army Air Field supporting Fort Hood
lt. governor announces new chair of finance committee
On January 11, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced the appointment of Senator Joan Huffman (R – Houston) as the new Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, effective immediately. Senator Huffman will replace Senator Jane Nelson (R – Flower Mound) who announced her retirement from the Senate after 28 years of service. The Finance Chair is one of the most powerful positions in the Senate, as the Chair leads and manages efforts in composing the state’s budget. The full list of committee members can be found here.
epa to host "waters of the u.s." webinars for local officials
On December 7, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a proposed rule to revise the definition of “waters of the United States.” The agencies propose to put back into place the pre-2015 definition of “waters of the United States” with updates to reflect consideration of Supreme Court decisions. The public comment period is now open and will close on February 7, 2022.
EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers will host two “waters of the United States” webinars for state and local officials. Registration for these events is below:
January 24, from 11am-2 pm: https://www.zoomgov.com/meeting/register/vJItduyhqj0qHvLoztdgOKhck69fOMu4XKw
January 27, from 9am-12pm: https://www.zoomgov.com/meeting/register/vJItdeGhpzMoHLsKsbAXJeRcNq0lSuh2Dn8
don't forget: mandatory hotel occupancy tax reporting
The 50-day window for reporting local hotel occupancy tax information opened January 1, 2022. The reporting deadline is February 20, 2022.
Tax Code Section 351.009 requires cities to file an annual report with the comptroller that includes the city’s hotel occupancy tax rate, the amount of revenue generated by the tax, and the amount and percentage of the revenue spent for each of the following purposes:
• Convention or information centers
• Convention delegates registration
• Advertising to attract tourists
• Arts promotion and improvement
• Historical restoration and preservation projects
• Signage directing the public to sights and attractions
Cities have two reporting options: (1) use the comptroller’s online reporting form to submit all required information; or (2) clearly post and maintain all required information on the city’s website and provide the comptroller’s office with a link to the information. For cities selecting the second option, the comptroller provides an optional format template to post on the city’s website.
don't forget: mandatory eminent domain reporting
Legislation passed in 2015 requires cities to annually fill out a web-based form with the comptroller relating to each city’s statutory eminent domain authority. Instructions for reporting can be found here. The three-month reporting period began on November 1, 2021 and closes on February 1, 2022. However, reports may be updated at any time throughout the year. The failure to fill out the form could result in a maximum $2,000 penalty against a city.
The entry should be, for almost every city, an update of previously filed information, including whether the city exercised its eminent domain authority in the preceding calendar year by filing a condemnation petition under Section 21.012, Property Code. This was clarified to some degree for certain cities by legislation that passed in 2021. S.B. 157 provides that—for cities under 25,000 population—an annual report must be filed only if the city’s eminent domain authority information has changed from the previous year. If the city’s information has not changed from the previous report, the city must use the comptroller’s reporting tool to confirm the accuracy of the previous information by electronically updating the filed report with the comptroller. Of course, any city that never filled out the form as required should do so now.
City officials with questions about the requirements can contact the comptroller’s transparency team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (844) 519-5676.
covid-19 update (no. 214)
All pandemic-related updates, including information about the American Rescue Plan’s city-related provisions, will be in the Legislative Update Newsletter from now on.
ARPA Funds: Additional NEU Reporting Guidance
Recently, the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) released additional reporting guidance related to ARPA funds. Non-entitlement units of government (NEUs) should have received the following information from Treasury:
“[NEUs] are not required to submit a report by January 31, 2022, and there will not be a report record available for you to do so. The first reporting deadline to submit the Project and Expenditure Report will be April 30, 2022 and annually afterwards. A Project and Expenditure Report will be made available for your city to complete ahead of the April 30, 2022 deadline.”
As a reminder, Compliance and Reporting Guidance, a Project and Expenditure Reporting User Guide, as well as online webinars and additional tools are available from the Treasury’s website to assist with meeting your city’s reporting requirements. Further guidance will be provided once the Treasury Portal opens this spring.
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.