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  84R8356 TJB-D
 
  By: Harless H.B. No. 1548
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to comprehensive reviews of certain special districts.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Title 1, Special District Local Laws Code, is
  amended by adding Chapter 2 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 2.  COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF CERTAIN SPECIAL DISTRICTS
         Sec. 2.001.  DEFINITION. In this chapter, "special
  district" means a political subdivision of this state that has a
  limited geographic area, is created by local law or under general
  law for a special purpose, and is authorized to impose a tax,
  assessment, or fee.  The term does not include:
               (1)  a school district; or
               (2)  a junior college district.
         Sec. 2.002.  COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW REQUIRED. (a)  At least
  once every six years, the governing body of a special district that
  has outstanding debt or imposes a tax, assessment, or fee shall
  conduct a comprehensive review of the district under this chapter.
         (b)  The governing body of a special district that issues
  debt or imposes a tax, assessment, or fee for the first time on or
  after September 1, 2015, shall conduct the first comprehensive
  review not later than the third anniversary of the date the
  governing body issues the debt or imposes the tax, assessment, or
  fee.
         Sec. 2.003.  COMPREHENSIVE SELF-EVALUATION REPORT. (a)  
  After conducting the review, the governing body must publish a
  written self-evaluation report not later than the 30th day before
  the date of the public hearing required by Section 2.005.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), the
  self-evaluation report must include:
               (1)  an identification of the statutory provision
  authorizing the special district;
               (2)  an identification of the purpose of the special
  district and an assessment of the extent to which the purpose has
  been achieved, has failed to be achieved, or is continuing to be
  achieved;
               (3)  an identification of the activities of the special
  district that overlap or duplicate those of other governmental
  entities;
               (4)  an identification of each tax, assessment, fee, or
  penalty that the special district is authorized to impose or
  collect;
               (5)  a statement of the revenue collected by the
  special district and an assessment of whether the revenue exceeds
  the amount needed to accomplish the purpose of the district; and
               (6)  an identification of the special district's
  financial liabilities, including bonds and other obligations.
         (c)  Instead of replicating in the self-evaluation report
  information required by Subsection (b) that is posted separately on
  the special district's Internet website, or on a website as
  authorized by Section 2.006(b)(2), the district may provide in the
  report a direct link to, or a clear statement describing the
  location of, the separately posted information.
         (d)  The governing body must make the self-evaluation report
  available for inspection by any person.  The governing body must
  take action to ensure that the self-evaluation report is posted
  continuously on the special district's Internet website, or on a
  website as authorized by Section 2.006(b)(2).
         Sec. 2.004.  NOTICE OF HEARING. (a)  Not earlier than the
  30th day or later than the 15th day before the date of the hearing
  required by Section 2.005, the governing body of the special
  district shall take action to ensure that the notice of the hearing
  is published in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the
  county in which the district is located and on the district's
  Internet website, or on a website as authorized by Section
  2.006(b)(2).  The notice on the website must remain posted until the
  conclusion of the hearing.
         (b)  The notice must contain a statement in the following
  form:
  "NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING TO CONSIDER THE COMPREHENSIVE
  SELF-EVALUATION REPORT OF THE (INSERT NAME OF SPECIAL DISTRICT)
         "The (insert name of the district) was created in (insert
  year) to (insert purpose for district's creation). The district
  imposes a (insert type of tax, assessment, or fee, as appropriate,
  and the appropriate rate or amount). State law requires the
  district to hold a hearing at least every six years to consider the
  district's comprehensive self-evaluation report. The hearing will
  be held on (insert date) at (insert time) at (insert location).  A
  copy of the district's comprehensive self-evaluation report is
  available at (insert the physical address of the district's main
  office, or the physical address of the main office of another local
  political subdivision if the district does not maintain an office,
  and the website address where the comprehensive self-evaluation
  report is posted)."
         Sec. 2.005.  PUBLIC HEARING. (a)  The governing body of a
  special district must conduct a public hearing at which persons
  interested in the self-evaluation report are given the opportunity
  to be heard.
         (b)  Not later than the 10th day after the date of the public
  hearing, the governing body shall take action to ensure that the
  following is posted on the special district's Internet website, or
  on a website as authorized by Section 2.006(b)(2):
               (1)  the minutes of the hearing;
               (2)  the estimated number of members of the public in
  attendance at the hearing; and
               (3)  the number of witnesses testifying at the hearing.
         Sec. 2.006.  INTERNET WEBSITE.  (a) Except as provided by
  Subsection (b), a special district shall maintain or cause to be
  maintained an Internet website to comply with this chapter.
         (b)  If a special district did not maintain an Internet
  website or cause a website to be maintained on January 1, 2015, the
  special district shall post the information required by this
  chapter on:
               (1)  the special district's website, if the special
  district chooses to maintain the website or cause the website to be
  maintained; or
               (2)  a website in which the special district controls
  the content of the posting, including a social media site, provided
  that the information is easily found by searching the name of the
  special district on the Internet.
         SECTION 2.  The governing body of a special district to which
  Section 2.002, Special District Local Laws Code, as added by this
  Act, applies that has issued debt or imposed a tax, assessment, or
  fee before the effective date of this Act must conclude the first
  comprehensive review cycle required by that section not later than
  September 1, 2016.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2015.