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Attorney General Opinions and Requests

TAC has highlighted recent Attorney General Opinions and Requests for Opinions of interest to counties.

Attorney General Opinions

KP-0178 Authority of the West Travis County Public Utility Agency to impose impervious cover requirements.

(RQ-0171-KP) Summary: A public utility agency has statutory authority to contract with private entities seeking water services under terms its board of directors deems appropriate and that are within the agency's permissible scope of authority.

Determining whether the West Travis County Public Utility Agency has authority to impose impervious cover limits on private entities as a contractual condition to extending its water services raises questions of fact and contract interpretation beyond the scope of an attorney general opinion.

KP-0180 Whether a county commissioners court may deny a county judge longevity pay due to receipt of a State salary supplement pursuant to section 26.006 of the Government Code (RQ-0173-KP) Summary: Subsection 26.006(c) of the Government Code does not preclude a county policy that excludes a county judge who receives a State salary supplement from receiving longevity pay paid to other officers and employees, provided the policy does not effectively reduce the county judge's salary to offset the county judge's State salary supplement.

KP-0181 Authority under article III, section 52(a) of the Texas Constitution of a Type-A general-law municipality to expend funds or resources on various tasks related to events sponsored by the area chamber of commerce, such as Christmas on the Plaza and Petersburg Days (RQ-0174-KP) Summary: 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's use of city resources serves a public purpose of the municipality 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.

KP-0182 Whether a county may transfer funds from the road and bridge account to a general account to pay all or a portion of a commissioner's salary when the commissioner spends a substantial portion of time performing road and bridge maintenance (RQ-0175-KP) Summary: A county road and bridge fund may derive income from multiple sources. Whether a county may transfer money from the road and bridge fund to the general fund to pay a commissioner's salary depends on the constitutional, statutory, or contractual provisions governing the disposition of the specific money at issue.

Concho County may transfer article VIII, section 9(a) property tax revenue from the county road and bridge fund to the general fund, and it may use that money to pay a commissioner's salary. However, it may not use funds deposited in the road and bridge fund pursuant to section 502.198 of the Transportation Code to pay all or a portion of a commissioner's salary.

KP-0184 Extent to which the administrative fee provisions of subsection 228.0547(b) of the Transportation Code apply to an entity operating a toll lane pursuant to subsection 228.007(b) of the Transportation Code (RQ-0178-KP) Summary: The administrative fee provisions of subsection 228.0547(b) of the Transportation Code are powers and duties of the Department of Transportation that apply to an entity that contracts with the Department pursuant to subsection 228.007(b) of the Transportation Code to operate a toll lane.

Requests for Attorney General Opinions

RQ-0211-KP:  The Honorable Doyle 'Dee' Hobbs, Williamson County Attorney, Whether the contractual assessments imposed by local governments under the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act in chapter 399 of the Local Government Code are special assessments by the local government and treated as real estate taxes on the property.

RQ-0212-KP: The Honorable Jodie Laubenberg, Chair, Committee on Elections, Texas House of Representatives, The constitutionality of the electioneering ordinance adopted by the City Council of McKinney.