Recent Texas Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from February 14, 2018 through March 10, 2018.

Opinion No. KP-0181 (Gifts/Donations): Article III, Section 52(a) of the Texas Constitution prohibits the gratuitous payment of public funds for a private purpose. Because the determination whether a particular expenditure or use of public resources is gratuitous is, in the first instance, for the city council subject to judicial review for abuse of discretion, we cannot determine as a matter of law that the use of city resources in these circumstances is constitutional.

Upon a finding by the city council that the chamber of commerce’s use of city resources for certain tasks (e.g., Christmas on the Plaza and Petersburg Days) serves a public purpose of the city and that sufficient controls exist to ensure the public purpose is carried out and a return benefit is received, Article III, Section 52(a) authorizes the use of city resources for these purposes.