ACTION REQUIRED TO PRESERVE YOUR CITY’S EMINENT DOMAIN AUTHORITY

New legislation passed during the 2011 legislative session requires cities to file a form with the comptroller identifying each city’s statutory eminent domain authority; failure to file the form may cause that authority to expire. 

Senate Bill 18 modified the procedures a city uses to take property through the power of eminent domain.  Section 2 of S.B. 18 creates a new Subchapter C in Chapter 2206 of the Texas Government Code.  Section 2206.101(b) provides that:

Not later than December 31, 2012, an entity, including a private entity, authorized by the state by a general or special law to exercise the power of eminent domain shall submit to the comptroller a letter stating that the entity is authorized by the state to exercise the power of eminent domain and identifying each provision of law that grants the entity that authority.

The comptroller has prepared a form for each city to fill out and submit by certified mail listing the statutes that authorize it to use eminent domain.  That information is available here:  http://window.state.tx.us/sb18compliance/If a city does not fill out and submit the form by December 31, 2012, its authority to use eminent domain for any purpose will expire.

The League has prepared a spreadsheet listing all of the provisions in state law that grant cities the power of eminent domain.  In addition, because of concern that some cities may inadvertently miss the deadline, the League has submitted a form for every general law city in our database and a form for every home rule city in our database.  The forms cite only the most basic statutes that grant the authority and are intended as a stopgap measure only.  There are dozens more that could affect any particular city.  Because the League doesn’t have the information necessary to decide whether any particular city meets certain criteria in the statutes, each city should also submit its own form. 

Each city should submit its own form after reviewing each of the provisions in this spreadsheet to determine whether they apply to that particular city.  The following spreadsheets are available:

The charts above list only provisions granting the power of eminent domain to cities.  Cities with other city-created entities should review the eminent domain authority of those entities to determine whether additional forms should be sent to the comptroller on their behalf.  Some of the provisions are very specific (e.g., authority of cities that have created municipal parking authorities or defense base management authorities, or even a city with a charter-created board of a municipally owned electric utility system that has certain financial obligations).  Thus, it may be appropriate to seek the assistance of local legal counsel to perform the review.

Please contact Scott Houston, TML’s general counsel, with questions at shouston@tml.org or 512-231-7400. 

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.

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