City Manager discusses legislation changes
City Manager Brandon Anderson updated city council Thursday regarding changes made in the 86th Legislative Session which might affect city operations as supplied by the Texas Municipal League.
The first topic brought to the board’s attention by Anderson was about revenue caps under Senate Bill 2. He said cities could only raise taxes by 3.5% under SB2 before triggering an automatic election for voter approval, but there is a catch for smaller communities.
“They added a caveat within that they call de minimis relief for cities under 30,000 (population), which technically the de minimis relief for cities under 30,000 means it is the same as it always has been,” Anderson said. “So, 8% is the max for a city under 30,000.”
The next bill discussed was House Bill 2439, which Anderson said stops the city from regulating building materials by national building codes with limited exemptions.
“Where this could affect us is we have a planned development zone that we are saying has to be half rock feature, this could affect that, but TML will clarify this statement, but basically there is going to be a question on whether or not we can dictate what type of building materials used,” he said.
Anderson said under House Bill 347 the legislature has ended annexation by communities with the exception of those asking by request.
“Pretty much from now on out it is going to have to be an area requesting to be annexed by the city,” Anderson said. “There will be very few exceptions to that, but annexation as we have known it in the past is gone.”
One topic brought up by the city manager he said was important was one regarding franchise fees, which are essentially a form of fee paid to rent use of public right-of-ways. Under Senate Bill 1152, utility providers do not have to pay both cable and telecom franchise fees.
“Our franchise fees last were $544,000, $448,000 of those franchise fee we feel like are locked in because they are from companies that would not affect this, however, the legislature change where you are a telecom company that is selling cable and telephone services you will only be required to pay one franchise fee,” Anderson said. “Those are mostly state franchise fees and whichever one is the lowest they will not have to pay.”
For the rest of the story, see the Saturday, July 13 edition of The Graham Leader.