Recent Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from February 11, 2023 through March 10, 2023.

KP-432 (Conflicts): Tax Code section 6.43 governs an appraisal review board’s employment of personnel and expressly authorizes an appraisal review board, not a tax appraisal district, to utilize the legal services of the county attorney. A court would likely conclude that subsection 6.43(c) does not authorize the county attorney to serve as legal counsel to the tax appraisal district.

KP-433 (City Council Terms): A ballot measure may be inadequate when it misleads the voters by omitting certain chief features that reflect its character and purpose. A court would likely conclude the length of terms of office of the mayor and aldermen, not the enabling date, was the chief feature of the measure submitted to voters and that the City of Combes’ May 2022 special election was not invalid because of the absence of that date in the Proposition language.

When a municipality sets the terms of office at more than two but not more than four years under article XI, section 11 of the Texas Constitution, it must elect members of its governing body by majority vote. To the extent the City did not have the necessary changes in place to implement a majority system and the candidates were not elected by majority vote, a court would likely conclude the candidates elected at the May 2022 general election serve two-year terms.

KP-434 (Conflicts): A court would likely conclude that the common-law doctrine of incompatibility bars a person from simultaneously serving as a volunteer fire fighter for an emergency services district and a commissioner on the ESD’s board of commissioners.

KP-437 (Public Facilities Corporations): Local Government Code chapters 303 and 375 respectively govern public facility corporations (PFCs) and municipal management districts (MMDs), including authorizing the creation of a PFC by a MMD. A court could conclude that, as a general matter, the two chapters allow a PFC to acquire real estate for leasehold outside its geographic boundaries. Whether a PFC should have this authority and the limitations of such authority are policy questions for the Legislature, especially when impacting taxing authority for another district.