Recent Texas Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from September 13, 2014 through October 13, 2014.

Opinion No. GA-1084 (Selling Real Property):  A type-A general law city may sell a building located in the middle of a street only as authorized by the Texas Constitution and statutes. Generally, a city must sell its land or other real property interest by complying with statutory notice and bidding requirements. Whether a particular exception allows a general-law city to sell real property and interests to a private entity without following notice and bidding procedures will depend on the particular facts and circumstances of the property and the terms of the sale. Article III, Section 52(a) and Article XI, Section 3 of the Texas Constitution do not prohibit a city from selling a public property to a private entity provided the transaction serves a public purpose and city receives a public benefit in return.

Opinion No. GA-1082 (Financial Statements):  A school district trustee subject to Section 11.0641 of the Education Code who holds office at any time on or after January 1, 2015, including in a holdover capacity, must file a financial statement under Section 11.0641 for the 2014 calendar year.  A school district trustee who has resigned and whose successor has been duly qualified and sworn into office prior to January 1, 2015, is not required to file a 2014 financial statement under Section 11.0641. The El Paso County Commissioners Court lacks authority to impose additional burdens or conditions in excess of the existing statutory filing requirements chosen by the legislature.

Opinion No. GA-1080 (Drainage Fees):  A court would likely conclude that the exemption for school districts from the Municipal Drainage Utility Systems Act (Act) in Subsections 552.053(a) and (b) of the Local Government Code is permissive and that a city has the discretion, within the limitations of the Act, to decide whether to grant such an exemption. A court would likely conclude that a reasonable drainage charge under the Act is not a tax from which a school district is exempt.