Austin, Texas
April 28, 2017

Honorable Jim Murphy, Chair, House Committee on Special Purpose Districts
Ursula Parks, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB4317 by Bailes (Relating to the creation of River Ranch Improvement District of Liberty County; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose assessments, fees, or taxes.), As Introduced

The Legislative Budget Board, in cooperation with the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), has determined that:
This bill creates River Ranch Improvement District of Liberty County (District) with the powers and duties of a standard municipal management district under Local Government Code Chapter 375. 
Population - The very specific description of the proposed boundaries does not allow staff to develop precise population estimates. Based on the Original Texas Land Surveys mentioned in HB 4317, staff is unable to determine a population estimate.
Population growth in the specific area since the 2010 census is unknown. The 2010 population estimate for areas of Liberty County served by small systems or private wells (County-Other) is 35,397. The Liberty County-Other population projections approved for the 2017 State Water Plan projects the population to grow to 36,449 in 2020, 37,531 in 2030 and 38,560 in 2040.
Location - The Proposed district's initial boundaries are described with a combination of Original Texas Land Surveys, Liberty County Real Property Records and metes and bounds. Due to the complexity of these boundaries for the various sub areas of the district, staff is able to determine only the general location of the proposed district.
The proposed district's area is approximately 11.66 square miles in southwestern Liberty County, located south of the City of Dayton, generally between State Highway 146 and Farm to Market Road 1409.

Comments on Powers/Duties Different from Similar Types of Districts:  The District is governed by a board of nine voting directors appointed by the TCEQ from persons recommended by the board; the District may exercise the powers given to a development corporation; the board by resolution may authorize the creation of a nonprofit corporation to assist and act for the District in implementing a project or providing a service authorized by this chapter; the District may contract with a qualified party, including the county or the city, to provide law enforcement services in the District for a fee; the District may join and pay dues to a charitable or nonprofit organization that performs a service or provides an activity consistent with the furtherance of a District purpose; the District may engage in activities that accomplish the economic development purposes of the District; the District may acquire, lease as lessor or lessee, construct, develop, own, operate, and maintain parking facilities or a system of parking facilities, including lots, garages, parking terminals, or other structures or accommodations for parking motor vehicles off the streets and related appurtenances; the bill grants the District authority for road projects; the District has the powers provided by the general law of this state applicable to navigation districts created under Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, including Chapters 60 and 62, Water Code; the District may construct, acquire, improve, maintain, and operate rail facilities and improvements in aid of those facilities; the District may provide and coordinate rural public transportation in its territory in the manner provided by Sections 458.010 and 458.011, Transportation Code, for a rural transit district.

The District may annex and exclude land as provided by Subchapter J, Chapter 49, Water Code; the District may not exercise the power of eminent domain; Local Government Code Section 375.161 states that an MMD may not impose an impact fee, assessment, tax, or other requirement for payment, construction, alteration, or dedication under this chapter on single-family detached residential property, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes. The bill specifies that this section does not apply to the District; Sections 375.221 and 375.223, Local Government Code, relating to competitive bidding, do not apply to the District. The bill specifies that Subchapter I, Chapter 49, Water Code, relating to competitive bidding applies to the district; Local Government Code Section 375.243 states that the board may not call a bond election unless a written petition has been filed with the board requesting an election. The bill specifies that this section does not apply to the District; Section 49.107(h), Water Code states that an operation and maintenance tax to be used for recreational facilities, as defined by Section 49.462, Water Code, levied by a district located in a county with a population of more than 3.3 million or in a county adjacent to that county may not exceed 10 cents per $100 of assessed valuation of taxable property in the District. The bill specifies that this section does not apply to the District; the District may define areas or designate certain property of the District to pay for improvements, facilities, or services that primarily benefit that area or property and do not generally and directly benefit the District as a whole.
Overlapping Services:  TCEQ does not have mapping information for water and/or wastewater providers because this function was transferred from the TCEQ to the Public Utility Commission on September 1, 2014.  As a result, TCEQ is unaware of possible overlapping service providers.
TCEQ's Supervision:  As with general law districts, the TCEQ will have general supervisory authority, including bond review authority and review of financial reports.
Water Use - HB 4317 specifies that "the district has the powers and duties provided by the general law of this state applicable to navigation districts created under Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, including Chapters 60 and 62, Water Code".
Within Liberty County, 35 percent of the total water use was groundwater (Gulf Coast Aquifer) in 2014. Ninety five percent of all the groundwater pumping was for municipal use.

Source Agencies:
582 Commission on Environmental Quality, 580 Water Development Board
LBB Staff: