HBA-MSH S.B. 1686 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 1686 By: Jackson County Affairs 5/11/2001 Committee Report (Amended) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Erosion is a problem for many communities along the Texas coast. The federal government provides matching funds for erosion control projects, but projects must compete for local funds before the federal government will match the funds. Conservation and improvement districts are created by the authority provided by the Texas Constitution. A conservation district will allow the communities on the western part of Galveston Island to secure local funds to compete for federal matching funds for erosion control projects. Senate Bill 1686 creates the West Galveston Island Conservation District. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS Senate Bill 1686 creates the West Galveston Island Conservation District, subject to approval at a confirmation election (SECTIONS 5 and 7). The bill provides that the district is governed by a board of five directors (board) and sets forth provisions regarding the election, qualifications, and terms of the directors as well as the administration of the board (SECTION 10). The bill sets forth the general powers of the district and authorizes the district to issue bonds and impose ad valorem taxes upon approval by the voters of the district, and impose assessments upon approval by the county commissioners court (SECTIONS 11, 18, 32, 34, 36,and 37). The bill prohibits the district from imposing an assessment on the property, equipment, or facilities of a public utility (SECTION 31). The bill sets forth specific powers and limitations of the district including the authority to borrow money and add or exclude territory (SECTIONS 8, 9, and 12). The bill authorizes the district to contract with a political subdivision, corporation, or other person to accomplish the purposes of the district (SECTIONS 11, 12, and 40). The bill prohibits the district from exercising the power of eminent domain, and authorizes Galveston County to exercise its power of eminent domain to implement a district facility or improvement (SECTION 15). The bill provides that construction by the district in a critical dune area or land adjacent to and landward of a public beach must be approved by the commissioners court and the General Land Office (SECTION 14). The bill authorizes the board to adopt and enforce reasonable rules and regulations governing the administration of the district and its programs and projects (SECTION 16). The bill authorizes the board to finance improvement projects or services if a written petition has been filed with the board signed by the requisite number of district property owners (SECTION 20). The bill authorizes the board to issue temporary notes to pay the costs of an improvement project or service and issue bonds on completion (SECTION 35). The bill sets forth provisions regarding the dissolution of the district (SECTION 39). EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001. EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS Committee Amendment No. 1 specifies that the qualifications necessary to vote in any election in the district are the same as the qualifications to serve as a director of the district. The amendment requires the initial board of directors to serve until their successors are elected. The amendment requires the district to hold elections of officers every two years after the election of the initial officers. Committee Amendment No. 2 removes the requirement that the district obtain approval from the General Land Office for construction in a critical dune area or on land adjacent to and landward of a public beach.