TCAA/TML Legal Defense Program: Amicus Briefs and Comments Filed

TCAA, in conjunction with the Texas Municipal League, files amicus briefs and comments in support of cities on many issues. To keep up to date on the status of these issues, go to

Permit Vesting: Rogers Shavano Ranch, Ltd. v. City of San Antonio, No. 14-0237 in the Supreme Court of Texas. This is a Chapter 245 permit vesting case. The question before the court is whether a prevailing developer is entitled to attorneys’ fees. The Texas Municipal League (TML) and the Texas City Attorneys Association (TCAA) argued that a waiver of immunity, including a waiver for attorneys’ fees, is under the purview of the legislature, and that the legislature has not expressly waived immunity in this instance. Cities are formed for the purpose of managing the needs of people who live and work in close quarters. Texas cities provide basic services, including land use regulations, to protect their citizens and foster a better city environment. Some cities, based on the demands of their citizens, enact very stringent and complex regulations, while others do not. Governmental immunity allows cities to perform these functions that benefit citizens, free from the constant threat of defending lawsuits and paying judgments. The Court requested briefing on the merits, and the TML/TCAA amicus brief in opposition to the developer’s petition was filed on February 12, 2015.

Type C General Law City Property Tax: RQ-0006-KP, Whether a type C general law city may levy an ad valorem property tax. The Texas Municipal League and the Texas City Attorneys Association argued to the attorney general that a type C general law city may impose a property tax because: (1) the Texas Constitution enables the legislature to authorize a property tax in cities less than 5,000 population; (2) the legislature, through the Tax Code, expressly authorizes type A and B cities to impose a property tax; (3) the “borrowing provision” states that a type C city has the same authority as a type A or B city, depending on population; and (4) the City of Taylor Landing has a population of 228 according to the 2010 census. Thus, according to Section 51.051(b) of the Local Government Code and Section 302.001 of the Tax Code, the city may impose a property tax of up to 25 cents per $100 valuation. The comments were filed on January 25, 2015.