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Local Government County COGs Municipal Special District

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Presentation on theme: "Local Government County COGs Municipal Special District"— Presentation transcript:

1 Local Government County COGs Municipal Special District
Metropolitan Area By Loren Miller

2 Local Government When most people think about government, they think about the national government. Of all three levels of government, local government has the greatest impact on our daily lives. Drinking water Schools Streets Parks and recreation Police and Fire Protection

3 Local Government Local Government takes many forms:
Municipalities (cities and towns) 1,200+ Counties 254 Special Districts (water, hospital, schools, housing, conservation, community colleges, etc.) 3000+ Councils of Governments All collect revenue and provide services

4 Cities, Counties, and Special Districts are creatures of the State
Local Government Dillon’s Rule: (followed in Texas and in 40 states) A legal principle that local governments have only those powers granted by their state government State Powers Local Powers Cities, Counties, and Special Districts are creatures of the State

5 Local power is not dependent upon the state
Local Government Cooley Doctrine Local government is a matter of absolute right and the state may not take it away Local power is not dependent upon the state

6 Local Government Local governments may receive part of their money from the state or national government. States often complain about unfunded federal mandates but local governments face the same dilemma from the state Meeting jail standards Providing access for the disabled Improving the quality of air Meeting federal and state educational standards

7 State Government Employment
Number Texas’s Rank Government Employees 318,000 2 Employees per 10,000 population Average Earnings $50, Per Capita Government Expenditure $4, Per Capita Government Debt $1,210 48 2011

8 Local Government Employment
Number Texas’s Rank Government Employees 1,134,000 2 Employees per 10,000 population Average Earnings $42, Per Capita Government Expenditure $4, Per Capita Government Debt $7,868 3 2011

9 Municipal Governments
City government powers are outlined and restricted by state and national constitutions, municipal charters, and statutes. Texas has two legal classifications of cities: General Law Cities: a community with a population of 201 or more; limited by state law Home Rule Cities: a community with a population of 5,000 or more; locally adopt and revise a charter; must be approved in an election

10 General Law Cities A general law city has extraterritorial jurisdiction over zoning and building for half a mile beyond its formal boundaries. A general law city may annex territory no greater than 10 percent of their existing land but the residents must approve of the annexation by a majority vote.

11 Home Rule Cities A city charter establishes the powers of municipal officers, sets salaries and terms of office, and spells out procedures for passing, repealing or amending city ordinances. A home rule city can exercise powers not given to the state or to general law cities: Recall (El Paso, College Station) Initiative (San Antonio, Farmers Branch) Referendum Annexation

12 Home Rule Cities A home rule city also has extraterritorial jurisdiction over zoning and building for five miles beyond their border. Home rule cities can annex territory by a simple majority vote of the city council and it does not require the approval of the residents of the area to be annexed.

13 Forms of Municipal Government
Strong Mayor Council Among larger American cities, the strong mayor council is the predominant structure (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston) The mayor is the chief administrator and the political head of the city -- provides strong leadership but there is the threat of corruption

14 Forms of Municipal Government
Strong Mayor Council Characteristics: -- Mayor is elected at large and has the power to hire and fire department heads -- Mayor has the power to veto council actions -- Mayor has budgetary power (plan for raising and spending city money) -- Mayor sets the agenda for the council

15 Strong Mayor Council Voters Mayor Council Department Heads
Appoints with approval of the council Department Heads

16 Forms of Municipal Government
Weak Mayor Council The mayor’s position is weak because the office shares appointive and removal power over city personnel; power is decentralized. The mayor is no more powerful than the other members of the council.

17 Weak Mayor Council Voters Mayor & Council Other Officials
Department Heads

18 Forms of Municipal Government
Council-Manager The council-manager system was initiated as a reform during the Progressive Era ( ). Reformers attempted to substitute “efficient and businesslike management” for “boss rule.” -- seen as a means of separating politics from the administration of government -- first implemented in 1913 in Texas by Amarillo and by Terrell -- used in Dallas, San Antonio, and Plano

19 Forms of Municipal Government
Council-Manager The mayor and the council make decisions after debate on policy issues such as taxation, budgeting, annexation and services. -- most city managers exert strong influence on these matters -- once policy is made, the city manager directs an appropriate department to implement that policy

20 Forms of Municipal Government
Council-Manager The city manager is professionally trained (MPA), earns a competitive salary, and serves at the pleasure of the council. -- the city manager in Dallas makes $400,000/year (2014) -- councils and mayors are not supposed to “micromanage” departments -- tend to respond more to elite and middle class concerns rather than the concerns of the working class

21 Council-Manager Voters Mayor Council City Manager Department Heads

22 Forms of Municipal Government
Commission This was approved by the Texas legislature for Galveston after a hurricane demolished the city in Today, none of Texas’s cities operate under this form of government. Commission members are elected by the people and perform both executive and legislative functions. -- they make up a municipal legislature and also administer a city department

23 Commission Voters City Commission Department Heads

24 Municipal Elections Mayors and city council members are usually elected for terms according to the city charter (usually 2 to 4 years). Many cities have adopted term limits Some limit the total number of terms while others limit the number of consecutive terms that a member can serve All city elections in Texas are nonpartisan

25 Municipal Elections Cities have the choice of using at-large or a single-member district system In a pure at-large system all of the voters elect all of the members of the council The membership of the council tends to be homogeneous (less conflict) In an at-large place system all of the voters vote for candidates who run for specific seats In a single-member district system voters cast a ballot for a candidate who resides within their district Leads to greater diversity within the council and also leads to increased pressure to “gerrymander”

26 Municipal Elections A small number of Texas cities and some school boards use cumulative voting People cast the number of votes equal to the number of seats available If there are six seats a voter may cast 3 votes for one candidate, 2 for a second, and 1 for a third; or they may cast 6 votes for one candidate This has been used to increase minority representation

27 Municipal Services For most people, city government’s primary job is to provide for basic services, but limited resources often lead to competing demands Police and fire protection Streets Water, sewer, and sanitation Parks and recreation City government also provides for regulation Zoning Construction Food service

28 Municipal Finances Most city governments in Texas face a serious financial dilemma: they barely have enough money to provide basic services and must reject or shortchange new services Cities’ two largest revenue sources, sales tax and property tax, are limited by state law Regressive taxes Texas cities are relying more heavily on fees Liquor licenses, water rates, and franchise fees for cable television providers

Lower Income Lower Middle Middle Income Upper Middle Upper Income Sales Tax 5.9% 3.5% 2.8% 2.6% 1.8% Gas Tax 0.8% 0.5% 0.4% 0.3% 0.2% Motor Vehicle Tax 0.7% Local Property Tax 4.7% 2.7% 2.3% 2.0% Texas State Comptroller, 2007

30 Municipal Finances: Taxes
Texas allows municipalities to levy taxes based on the value of property The problem with property taxes is that poorer cities with low property values must charge a high rate to provide for minimum services Highland Park tax rate: 22 cents/$100 valuation Wylie tax rate: 90 cents/$100 valuation The other major source of revenue is the optional 1.25 – 2 percent sales tax The sum of city, county, and special district sales tax cannot exceed 2 percent

31 Municipal Finances: Fees
When residents are charged for a particular government service, this is called a user fee These fees are popular because voters often oppose higher taxes but generally believe that people should pay for what they actually use Cities may charge for city provided electricity, water, sewage, and garbage collection Other charges include swimming pool fees, golf course fees and ambulance service; inspection fees, building fees, and beer and liquor licenses

32 Municipal Finances: Bonds
Money for capital improvements and emergencies often must be obtained through the sale of municipal bonds Construction of city buildings, parks, recreation centers Flood or hurricane damage Cities may issue bonds to be repaid from taxes and must be approved by the voters of the city

33 Abatements and Exemptions
A tax abatement is a tax reduction or exemption granted by local government to an industry or business. Tax exemptions Homestead exemption (up to 20% of the assessed value of the property) Additional exemption for disabled veterans and for homeowners 65 years of age and older


35 Problems with Municipal Governments
The rapid shift of the population to urban areas has seriously taxed the city government’s ability to provide necessary services (water, sewer, police and fire protection). Middle and upper income flight has decreased the tax base (property tax)

36 Counties Counties are units of local government that are limited to those structures and powers specifically granted by state law If county officials want to respond to a local problem by taking an action not specifically allowed by state law, they must obtain authorization from the Texas legislature Texas has 254 counties, the most in the nation, and all counties in Texas have the same governmental structure Loving County (population 82) has the same structure as Harris County (population 4,180,000) Rockwall County (147 square miles) has the same structure as Brewster County (over 6,000 square miles)

37 Counties The Texas Constitution provides for the election of four county commissioners, county and district attorneys, a county sheriff, a county clerk, a district clerk, a county tax assessor-collector, a county treasurer, constables, as well as judicial officers All are elected in partisan elections and serve a four year term County officials tend to think of their office as their personal fiefdom and resent interference by other officials Hence, Texas counties are usually highly decentralized

38 Precinct 1 Precinct 2 Precinct 3 Precinct 4
County Voters Precinct Precinct Precinct Precinct 4 Dist Sheriff County County Tax Surveyor Treasurer Clerk Clerk Attorney Assessor Dist. Judge Justice of the Constable Peace Auditor Commissioners Court Comm. Precinct 1 Comm. Precinct 2 Comm. Precinct 3 Comm. Precinct 4 County Judge

39 Commissioners Court The Commissioners Court is the board of directors for the county. It is composed of four commissioners and the county judge. Commissioners Court has executive and legislative duties, not judicial The commissioners are elected for four year staggered terms They establish the budget for the county and set the tax rate Amount Needed = Assessed Value of Property x Rate Rate = Amount Needed/Assessed Value Collin County Commissioner’s Salary: $107,811 (2013)

40 County Property Tax Rates 2012
County Total Tax Rate Per $100 Five Highest Rates Duvall $1.12 Throckmorton $1.04 Jim Hogg $1.03 King $1.01 Foard $0.95 Five Lowest Rates Dallas $0.24 Collin $0.24 Upton $0.23 Morris $0.23 Midland $0.20

41 County Finance Just as the structure of county government is frozen in the Texas Constitution, so is the county’s power to tax and to spend The Texas Constitution authorizes county governments to collect taxes on property They may impose higher property taxes that would generate up to 8 percent more revenue than the previous year without citizen’s ability to initiate a roll back on the higher rate

42 County Finance Counties receive small amounts of money from various sources that add up to an important part of their revenue Fees on the sale of liquor Various motor vehicle taxes and fees Traffic fines Counties may borrow money through bonds to pay for capital improvements (new jail; new court house)

43 County Judge The county judge generally is the most influential county leader Presides over Commissioners Court In rural counties they also hear cases in County Court Does not need to be a lawyer Has no formal authority over other elected officials, but has influence over their budget Collin County Judge’s Salary: $131,990 (2013

44 County Sheriff The county sheriff, as chief law enforcement officer in the county, is charged with keeping the peace in the county. Appoints deputies Oversees the county jail and its prisoners Usually focuses on crime in unincorporated areas and leaves law enforcement in the cities primarily to municipal police Collin County Sheriff’s Salary: $138,792 + $9,100 Auto (2013)

45 County Law Enforcement
The county judge in rural counties hears minor civil and criminal cases (A & B misdemeanors) in County Court Each county has from one to eight justice of the peace precincts (number is decided by Commissioners Court) Handle minor civil (small claims) and criminal (Class C) misdemeanors Serve as coroner Constables assist the JPs by serving papers Collin County Salaries (2013): Justice of the Peace -- $94, Constable -- $89,762

46 County/District Attorney
District attorneys generally focus their attention on the district court (felonies) County attorneys represent the state in civil and criminal cases and advise county officials Some counties have both a county attorney and a district attorney, while other counties may have one or the other Collin County Salary: $146,565 (2013)

47 County Clerk The county clerk keeps records and handles various paperwork chores for both the county court and the commissioners court. In addition, the county clerk files legal documents (such as deeds, mortgages, and contracts) in the county’s public records and maintains the county’s vital statistics (births, deaths, marriage records). Collin County Salary: $110,988 (2013)

48 County Tax Assessor-Collector
The county tax appraisal district assesses property values in the county, so the County Tax Assessor-Collector no longer (since 1982) assesses property values. They collect county taxes and fees, including license tag fees for motor vehicles. This office also handles voter registration. Collin County Salary: $109,745 (2013)

49 County Treasurer & Auditor
The county treasurer receives and pays out county funds authorized by the commissioners court. A county of 10,000 or more people must have a county auditor, appointed by the county’s district court judges. Checks the account books and records of officials who handle county funds

50 Problems with County Government
Obsolete – difficult to cope with a primarily urban state; principally a rural oriented structure. Lack of Centralization – too many people are elected and independent; lack of coordinated planning. Difficult for voters to intelligently choose officeholders (long ballot) Graft and Corruption – state law prohibits competitive bidding; commissioners decide who gets the contracts to work in their precincts; spoils system is used for hiring. -- Much of the money contributed to county elected officials come from firms or people who do business with the county

51 Special Districts A special district is a unit of local government that performs a single service in a limited geographic area. Districts can be created to do almost anything that is legal. Drainage districts Community College districts Library districts Metropolitan transit authorities The number of special districts has increased dramatically in the last 50 years. There are more special districts in the United States than any other single type of government Only Illinois and California have more special districts than Texas

52 Special Districts in Texas
, , , , ,800+ Special districts are the fasting growing unit of government in the United States and in Texas

53 Special Districts There are two types of special districts in Texas:
Independent school district Nonschool special district The special district must be chartered by the state or otherwise approved by the Texas legislature. They have taxing authority (property; sales tax; tolls) They are independent from other governments The Plano Independent School District is completely independent from Plano’s city government

54 Special Districts Why create a special district?
A city or county may have limited revenue They may have reached the state-mandated sales tax limit of 2% Only a small area within a city or county may need the service. Why tax everyone? A developer wants to provide water and sewerage for a subdivision that lies outside the city limits. Municipal Utility District (MUD) The demand for a service may extend beyond a single jurisdiction. A river authority with the power to govern the use of water throughout the river’s watershed

55 Community College Districts
Each community college district is governed by an elected board that has the power to set property tax rates, issue bonds (subject to voter approval), and adopt an annual budget. There are 50 community college districts in Texas. Community colleges are funded by state appropriations, student tuition and fees, local property tax, and some federal grants.

56 Funding Sources for Collin College (%)

57 Special Districts Problems with special districts
They are sometimes called “hidden governments” because the actions of district officials and employees are less visible than if a county or city provided the services; board elections are not held at the same time as general elections, so the voter turnout is quite low The cost of borrowing money is quite high as they are forced to issue revenue bonds (paid from fees collected for the service) and pay a high interest rate Because special districts are usually quite small, they may purchase goods and services in limited quantities, paying higher prices

58 School Districts More than 1000 Texas school districts have been created by the Texas legislature. Governed by a popularly elected, nonsalaried board of trustees Elections are nonpartisan and do not coincide with statewide elections; in urban areas, city and school board elections may coincide (usually the second Saturday in May) The board makes district policy and are responsible for hiring a superintendent who manages the day-to-day operation of the district Board members often make political demands on the superintendent

59 School Districts Public education has become a shared responsibility (both financially and from a policy perspective) with increased state and federal requirements for testing students Different school districts have varied sources of financial support The state’s system of funding public education has long been controversial as the bulk of funds for many school districts is the property tax

60 Funding Sources for Texas Schools (%)

61 Houston and El Paso (%) Houston El Paso 2011

62 Councils of Government
Although the needs of local government vary, the basics of providing governmental services are the same for virtually all local governments. Nearly all municipal and county governments, as well as most special districts, participate in a council of government (COG). COGs have been created to allow cooperation and communication by local governments within a specific region. Because COGs are not governments, they have no taxing power and cannot pass laws, rules or ordinances They are used to provide training for city managers, council members, mayors, and other elected and appointed officials They are also useful in planning for future regional environment, transportation, and land use issues


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