Ending Forced Annexation in Texas: Hon. Jess Fields & James Quintero, TPPF, Center for Local Governance (July, 2015)
Home Rule Annexation
In stark contrast to general law cities, home rule cities in Texas have great latitude to annex without need of any consent from those being annexed. This broad authority is subject to any restrictions required by a city’s charter, although most home rule charters prescribe the broad authority allowed by state law.23
That authority is outlined in Chapter 43 of the Texas Local Government Code. Although municipalities may unilaterally annex without the consent of property owners, home rule annexation is nonetheless governed by certain statutory restrictions, as follows:
- Home rule cities may only annex within their Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ), unless they own the land.24
- Every home rule city must prepare and maintain a municipal annexation plan.25
- Municipal annexation plans must be made available on the websites of home rule cities, if applicable, including the posting of any amendments to add or withdraw areas from the plan.26
- Home rule cities must compile a “comprehensive inventory of services and facilities provided by public and private entities” for any areas proposed for annexation.27
- Municipalities may not annex a total area more than 10 percent of their current municipal corporate limits. However, if a city does not annex 10 percent of its area within a year, it may carry that authority over to the next year, so that the area which may be annexed is subject to cumulative rollover based upon how much less than 10 percent of its total area a city actually annexed. However, the total annexation for a given year cannot exceed 30 percent of current incorporated area, even with rollover.28
- Municipalities must prepare a service plan for any area proposed for annexation within nine months of the service inventory, detailing how municipal services will be provided to the area once it is annexed.29
- Municipalities must provide to the annexed area an equivalent level of municipal services provided to current residents and property owners. Within most cases, this must be accomplished within 2 1/2 years after the effective date of the annexation. Cities may also propose a schedule to extend services that extends the deadline for service provision to 4 1/2 years.
- Some services that are provided by cities to residents must be provided immediately to annexed areas as soon as the effective date of annexation. These are police and fire protection, emergency medical services, solid waste collection (unless residents use private providers), operation and maintenance of water and wastewater facilities not serviced by another local authority, road and street maintenance, operation and maintenance of parks facilities, and operation and maintenance of any other public facilities.30
- Before annexation proceedings may be initiated, two public hearings must be held within 90 days of the inventory of services being provided to the public, with at least one hearing being held in the area proposed for annexation if a facility for doing so is available, and if more than 20 residents of the proposed area file a written protest of the annexation with the city secretary. Notice of these hearings must be posted on the city’s website, if applicable, as well as in a newspaper.31
While there are some other stipulations under the relevant statutes, these are the primary restrictions on home rule annexation authority.