The Texas Legislature adjourned the Special Session Sine Die on August 15, 2017, one day before the 30-day session was set to expire.

Of interest to ICSC members,  SB 6 by Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) and Dan Huberty (R-Humble) prescribes procedures to be followed by a municipality before annexing property. It divides counties and municipalities into two categories for annexation purposes. 

Tier 1 - A Tier 1 county is a county with a population of less than 500,000 (with the exception of a county that contains a freshwater fisheries center operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department). A Tier 1 municipality is a city wholly located in one or more Tier 1 counties that proposes to annex an area wholly located in one or more Tier 1 counties.

Tier 2 - A Tier 2 county is a county with a population of 500,000 or more (or a Tier 1 county in which a majority of the registered voters have approved being a Tier 2 county). A Tier 2 municipality is a city wholly or partly located in a Tier 2 county or wholly located in one or more Tier 1 counties that proposes to annex any part of a Tier 2 county. 

Annexation of an Area With Less Than 200 Population - Prior to annexing an area with a population of less than 200, a Tier 2 municipality must have approval (by petition) of more than 50 percent of the registered voters and which includes at least 50 percent of the landowners in the area to be annexed. The municipality that proposes to annex an area must adopt a resolution that includes a detailed description and map of the area; a description of each service to be provided in the area by the municipality; a list of each service the municipality will provide on the effective date of the annexation; and a schedule that includes the period within which the municipality will provide each service not provided on the annexation’s effective date. There is a notice, public hearing, election, and petition requirement.

Annexation of an Area with 200 People or More – An area with a population of 200 or more can only be annexed by a Tier 2 municipality if a majority of registered voters approve the annexation at an election. If more than 50 percent of the land in the area is not owned by registered voters, a petition signed by more than 50 percent of the landowners is required. There is a notice, public hearing, and petition requirement.

Requirements for All Municipal Annexation – A municipality annexing an area of any population without consent of all landowners must:

  • provide a list of services to be provided on or after the effective date of annexation;
  • mail notice of the proposed annexation to each resident and property owner in the area; and
  • hold hearings during and after the petition or election period.

If the petition or election fails to meet the threshold, the municipality cannot annex the area and cannot try again for at least one year.

Annexation of Roads and Rights-of-Way – A Tier 2 municipality may annex a road or the right-of-way of a road upon request of the owner or the governing body of the political subdivision that maintains the road or right-of-way.

Annexation Near Military Bases – Prior to annexation of an area within five miles of a federally owned or operated military instillation or facility, the city is required to adopt a resolution to maintain the compatibility of its regulation of the land with the base’s operations.

Exceptions – Annexation of areas owned by the municipality, areas involving strategic partnership agreements, navigable streams within the municipality’s extra-territorial jurisdiction, and industrial districts are not subject to the petition or election procedures.

The measure was signed by the governor on August 15, 2017 and takes effect on December 1, 2017.