Skip to content
Quick Start for:

Water Code

Chapter 49. Provisions Applicable to All Districts.
Subchapter A. General Provisions.

Sec. 49.001. Definitions.
Sec. 49.002. Applicability.
Sec. 49.003. Penalty.
Sec. 49.004. Penalty for Violation of District Rules.

Subchapter D. Election Provisions.
Sec. 49.107. Operation and Maintenance Tax.
Sec. 49.108. Contract Elections.
Sec. 49.236. Notice of Tax Hearing.
Sec. 49.236. Notice of Tax Hearing.

Chapter 49. Provisions Applicable to All Districts.
Subchapter A. General Provisions.

Sec. 49.001. Definitions.

(a) As used in this chapter:

(1) "District" means any district or authority created by authority of either Sections 52(b)(1) and (2), Article III, or Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, regardless of how created. The term "district" shall not include any navigation district or port authority created under general or special law, any conservation and reclamation district created pursuant to Chapter 62, Acts of the 52nd Legislature, 1951 (Article 8280-141, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes), or any conservation and reclamation district governed by Chapter 36 unless a special law creating the district or amending the law creating the district states that this chapter applies to that district.

(2) "Commission" means the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.

(3) "Board" means the governing body of a district.

(4) "Executive director" means the executive director of the commission.

(5) "Water supply corporation" means a nonprofit water supply or sewer service corporation created or operating under Chapter 67.

(6) "Director" means either a supervisor or director appointed or elected to the board.

(7) "Municipal solid waste" has the same meaning assigned by Section 361.003, Health and Safety Code.

(8) "Special water authority" means a river authority as that term is defined in Section 30.003, or a district created by a special Act of the legislature that:

(A) is a provider of water or wastewater service to two or more municipalities; and

(B) is governed by a board of directors appointed or designated in whole or in part by the governor, the Texas Water Development Board, or municipalities within its service area.

(9) "Potable water" means water that has been treated for public drinking water supply purposes.

(10) "District facility" means tangible real and personal property of the district, including any plant, equipment, means, recreational facility as defined by Section 49.462, or instrumentality owned, leased, operated, used, controlled, furnished, or supplied for, by, or in connection with the business or operations of a district. The term specifically includes a reservoir or easement of a district.

(b) These definitions are for use in this chapter only and have no effect on any other statute or code unless specifically referenced by that statute or code.

Amended by SB 624, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003, effective June 18, 2003.

Sec. 49.002. Applicability.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), this chapter applies to all general and special law districts to the extent that the provisions of this chapter do not directly conflict with a provision in any other chapter of this code or any Act creating or affecting a special law district. In the event of such conflict, the specific provisions in such other chapter or Act shall control.

(b) This chapter does not apply to a district governed by Chapter 36 unless a special law creating the district or amending the law creating the district states that this chapter applies to that district.

Sec. 49.003. Penalty.

A district that fails to comply with the filing provisions of this code may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $100 per day for each day the district wilfully continues to violate these provisions after receipt of written notice of violation from the executive director by certified mail, return receipt requested. The state may sue to recover the penalty.

Sec. 49.004. Penalty for Violation of District Rules.

(a) The board may set reasonable civil penalties for the breach of any rule of the district that shall not exceed the jurisdiction of a justice court as provided by Section 27.031, Government Code.

(b) A penalty under this section is in addition to any other penalty provided by the law of this state and may be enforced by complaints filed in the appropriate court of jurisdiction in the county in which the district's principal office or meeting place is located.

(c) If the district prevails in any suit to enforce its rules, it may, in the same action, recover reasonable fees for attorneys, expert witnesses, and other costs incurred by the district before the court. The amount of the attorney's fees shall be fixed by the court.

Subchapter D. Election Provisions.

Sec. 49.107. Operation and Maintenance Tax.

(a) A district may levy and collect a tax for operation and maintenance purposes, including funds for planning, constructing, acquiring, maintaining, repairing, and operating all necessary land, plants, works, facilities, improvements, appliances, and equipment of the district and for paying costs of proper services, engineering and legal fees, and organization and administrative expenses.

(b) An operation and maintenance tax may not be levied by a district until it is approved by a majority of the electors voting at an election held for that purpose. After such a tax has been authorized by the district's voters, the board shall be authorized to levy the tax and have it assessed and collected as other district taxes.

(c) An operation and maintenance tax election may be held at the same time and in conjunction with any other district election. The election may be called by a separate election order or as part of any other election order.

(d) The proposition in an operation and maintenance tax election may be for a specific maximum rate or for an unlimited rate.

(e) If a district has any surplus operation and maintenance tax funds that are not needed for the purposes for which they were collected, the funds may be used for any lawful purpose.

(f) Before a district reimburses a developer of property in the district, as that term is defined in Section 49.052(d), or its assigns, from operation and maintenance tax funds, for planning, constructing, or acquiring facilities, the district shall obtain approval by the executive director.

(g) Sections 26.04, 26.05, and 26.07, Tax Code, do not apply to a tax levied and collected under this section or an ad valorem tax levied and collected for the payment of the interest on and principal of bonds issued by a district.

(h) To the extent authorized by Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, an operation and maintenance tax to be used for recreational facilities, as defined by Section 49.462, 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.

Added by 1995 Tex. Laws, ch. 715, Sec. 2; amended by 2001 Tex. Laws, ch. 1423, Sec. 6; amended by SB 624, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003, effective June 18, 2003.

Cross References:
Effective and rollback tax rates, see Sec. 26.04
Adopting tax rate, see Sec. 26.05.
Tax rate rollback election, see Sec. 26.07.

Sec. 49.108. Contract Elections.

(a) A contract may provide that the district will make payment under the contract from proceeds from the sale of notes or bonds, from taxes, or from any other income of the district or any combination of these.

(b) A district may make payments under a contract from taxes other than operation and maintenance taxes after the provisions of the contract have been approved by a majority of the qualified voters voting at an election held for that purpose. A contract approved by the qualified voters of a district may contain a provision stating that the contract may be modified or amended by the board without voter approval.

(c) A contract election may be held at the same time and in conjunction with any other district election. The election may be called by a separate election order or as part of any other election order.

(d) A contract approved by the voters will constitute an obligation against the taxing power of the district to the extent provided in the contract.

(e) A district that is required under Section 49.181 to obtain approval by the commission of the district's issuance of bonds must obtain approval by the executive director before the district enters into an obligation under this section to collect tax for debt that exceeds three years. This subsection does not apply to contract taxes that are levied to pay for a district's share of bonds that have been issued by another district and approved by the commission or bonds issued by a municipality.

(f) Sections 26.04, 26.05, and 26.07, Tax Code, do not apply to a tax levied and collected for payments made under a contract approved in accordance with this section.

Amended by 2001 Tex. Laws, ch. 1423, Sec. 7 and by ch. 1160, Sec. 1.

HB 1541, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003, ch. 248, Sec. 18, added Sec. 49.236 as follows:

Sec. 49.236. Notice of Tax Hearing.

(a) Before the board adopts an ad valorem tax rate for the district for debt service, operation and maintenance purposes, or contract purposes, the board shall give notice of each meeting of the board at which the adoption of a tax rate will be considered. The notice must:

(1) contain a statement in substantially the following form:

"NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON TAX RATE

"The (name of the district) will hold a public hearing on a proposed tax rate for the tax year (year of tax levy) on (date and time) at (meeting place). Your individual taxes may increase or decrease, depending on the change in the taxable value of your property in relation to the change in taxable value of all other property and the tax rate that is adopted."; and

(2) contain the following information:

(A) the district's total adopted tax rate for the preceding year and the proposed tax rate, expressed as an amount per $100;

(B) the difference, expressed as an amount per $100 and as a percent increase or decrease, as applicable, in the proposed tax rate compared to the adopted tax rate for the preceding year;

(C) the average appraised value of a residence homestead in the district in the preceding year and in the current year; the district's total homestead exemption, other than an exemption available only to disabled persons or persons 65 years of age or older, applicable to that appraised value in each of those years; and the average taxable value of a residence homestead in the district in each of those years, disregarding any homestead exemption available only to disabled persons or persons 65 years of age or older;

(D) the amount of tax that would have been imposed by the district in the preceding year on a residence homestead appraised at the average appraised value of a residence homestead in that year, disregarding any homestead exemption available only to disabled persons or persons 65 years of age or older;

(E) the amount of tax that would be imposed by the district in the current year on a residence homestead appraised at the average appraised value of a residence homestead in that year, disregarding any homestead exemption available only to disabled persons or persons 65 years of age or older, if the proposed tax rate is adopted; and

(F) the difference between the amounts of tax calculated under Paragraphs (D) and (E), expressed in dollars and cents and described as the annual increase or decrease, as applicable, in the tax to be imposed by the district on the average residence homestead in the district in the current year if the proposed tax rate is adopted.

(b) Notice of the hearing shall be:

(1) published at least once in a newspaper having general circulation in the district at least seven days before the date of the hearing; or

(2) mailed to each owner of taxable property in the district, at the address for notice shown on the most recently certified tax roll of the district, at least 10 days before the date of the hearing.

Added by HB 5141, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003, effective June 18, 2003.

SB 392, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003, ch. 335, Sec. 1, added Sec. 49.236 as follows:

Sec. 49.236. Notice of Tax Hearing.

(a) Before the board adopts an ad valorem tax rate for the district for debt service, operation and maintenance purposes, or contract purposes, the board shall give notice of each meeting of the board at which the adoption of a tax rate will be considered. The notice must:

(1) contain a statement in substantially the following form:

"NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON TAX RATE

"The (name of the district) will hold a public hearing on a proposed tax rate for the tax year (year of tax levy) on (date and time) at (meeting place). Your individual taxes may increase or decrease, depending on the change in the taxable value of your property in relation to the change in taxable value of all other property and the tax rate that is adopted.

"(Names of all board members and, if a vote was taken, an indication of how each voted on the proposed tax rate and an indication of any absences.)";

(2) contain the following information:

(A) the district's total adopted tax rate for the preceding year and the proposed tax rate, expressed as an amount per $100;

(B) the difference, expressed as an amount per $100 and as a percent increase or decrease, as applicable, in the proposed tax rate compared to the adopted tax rate for the preceding year;

(C) the average appraised value of a residence homestead in the district in the preceding year and in the current year; the district's total homestead exemption, other than an exemption available only to disabled persons or persons 65 years of age or older, applicable to that appraised value in each of those years; and the average taxable value of a residence homestead in the district in each of those years, disregarding any homestead exemption available only to disabled persons or persons 65 years of age or older;

(D) the amount of tax that would have been imposed by the district in the preceding year on a residence homestead appraised at the average appraised value of a residence homestead in that year, disregarding any homestead exemption available only to disabled persons or persons 65 years of age or older;

(E) the amount of tax that would be imposed by the district in the current year on a residence homestead appraised at the average appraised value of a residence homestead in that year, disregarding any homestead exemption available only to disabled persons or persons 65 years of age or older, if the proposed tax rate is adopted; and

(F) the difference between the amounts of tax calculated under Paragraphs (D) and (E), expressed in dollars and cents and described as the annual percentage increase or decrease, as applicable, in the tax to be imposed by the district on the average residence homestead in the district in the current year if the proposed tax rate is adopted; and

(3) contain a statement in substantially the following form:

"NOTICE OF TAXPAYERS' RIGHT TO ROLLBACK ELECTION

"If taxes on the average residence homestead increase by more than eight percent, the qualified voters of the district by petition may require that an election be held to determine whether to reduce the operation and maintenance tax rate to the rollback tax rate under Section 49.236(d), Water Code."

(b) Notice of the hearing shall be:

(1) published at least once in a newspaper having general circulation in the district at least seven days before the date of the hearing; or

(2) mailed to each owner of taxable property in the district, at the address for notice shown on the most recently certified tax roll of the district, at least 10 days before the date of the hearing.

(c) The notice provided under this section may not be smaller than one-quarter page of a standard-size or tabloid-size newspaper of general circulation, and the headline on the notice must be in 18-point or larger type.

(d) If the governing body of a district adopts a combined debt service, operation and maintenance, and contract tax rate that would impose more than 1.08 times the amount of tax imposed by the district in the preceding year on a residence homestead appraised at the average appraised value of a residence homestead in the district in that year, disregarding any homestead exemption available only to disabled persons or persons 65 years of age or older, the qualified voters of the district by petition may require that an election be held to determine whether or not to reduce the tax rate adopted for the current year to the rollback tax rate in accordance with the procedures provided by Sections 26.07(b)-(g) and 26.081, Tax Code. For purposes of Sections 26.07(b)-(g) and this subsection, the rollback tax rate is the current year's debt service and contract tax rates plus the operation and maintenance tax rate that would impose 1.08 times the amount of the operation and maintenance tax imposed by the district in the preceding year on a residence homestead appraised at the average appraised value of a residence homestead in the district in that year, disregarding any homestead exemption available only to disabled persons or persons 65 years of age or older.

Added by SB 392, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003, effective September 1, 2003.

Cross References:
Tax rate rollback election, see Sec. 26.07.