Senate Interim Committee on Intergovernmental
Study and make recommendations on consolidating county and municipal
In the 74th Legislature, the Senate passed S.J.R. 47, which would
have proposed a constitutional amendment authorizing the voters
of certain counties and certain political subdivisions to create
a consolidated government. However, the bill failed to pass in
the House. The Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee held
statewide hearings during the interim on the issue.
Several Texas cities encompass most of their respective counties,
or the cities' populations account for the vast majority of the
counties' populations. Consequently, according to consolidation
supporters, two levels of government exist for the same residents,
and services are duplicative. Consolidation opponents said counties
and cities perform distinct functions, and combining governments
would dilute minority representation.
The legislature should establish
a citizens' Commission on Consolidation and Regional Issues.
The commission would examine the following:
The effect of consolidation
on minority voting;
The potential and scope of
current options under inter-local agreements;
The historical perspective
and public understanding of consolidation; and
The impact of consolidation
on regional matters.
By December 31, 1998, the
commission would issue a recommendation to the legislature on
pursuing city-county consolidation. Establishing the commission
would not impede independent consolidation efforts.
Study and make recommendations regarding the problems of urban
infrastructure, recognizing the deterioration in such areas and
the shift of population and businesses to suburban areas.
The Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee held statewide
hearings during the interim and identified three issues regarding
infrastructure needs: streets and bridges, affordable housing,
and sports facilities.
Create an alternative source
of revenue to capitalize the Texas Housing Trust Fund to maximize
its lending power for developing affordable housing in the low-income
Create an Enterprise Zone
"Qualified Builder" category separate from "Enterprise
Project" to encourage housing developers to rehabilitate
affordable housing enterprise zones.
Implement the recommendations
of the Sunset Advisory Commission staff to maximize the Texas
Department of Transportation's use of a state infrastructure bank
to take advantage of the flexibility of federal highway funds.
Consider authorizing a local-option
revenue source which, subject to voter approval, would enable
political subdivisions to finance the construction and renovation
of sports stadiums.
Create and fund a Texas Advisory
Commission on State-Local Relations to promote stronger intergovernmental
communication, cooperation and coordination among city, county,
state, and special district governments-especially in the context
of fewer federal resources and more state flexibility.