Unformatted text preview: LOCAL GOVERNMENT Level of government most close to "the people" Levels: city county special districts CITIES Generallaw cities incorporated communities (population of 5,000 or less) limited in subject matter they may legislate Homerule cities population over 5,000 vote (by a majority) to adopt own charter structure government Can directly influence government by voting in initiatives (propose change by petition) referendums (change laws by election) recalls (petition for election to remove official) FORMS OF GOVERNMENT CouncilManager System city council makes laws professional administrator to implement policies and manage government (City Manager) City Manager serves at pleasure of council power city charter and ordinances passed by council ultimate decision making is with council Mayor selected from council or elected presides over council meetings limited or no veto power same legislative authority as council ceremonial role Reform movement to make city government more "efficient and businesslike" less "boss rule" criticism chief executive officer of city not elected by voters MayorCouncil System strongmayor form chief executive makes appointments prepares budget manages city government legislative leader sets agenda proposes policy may have the right to veto Criticism too much power in one person too politicized to distribute services fairly and efficiently Weakmayor form lacks unified lines of authority mayor and council share administrative authority power is decentralized accountability becomes an issue ELECTIONS Atlarge city wide elections pure, atlarge system council members elected those who receive most votes singlemember districts council members elected from districts by voters who live in the district In practice, mixed system majority of council members elected from singledistricts mayor and remaining members elected at large Minority representation reflected in singlemember districts more than atlarge elections CORPUS CHRISTI CouncilManager Form of Government 5 31 system 5 council members (single districts) 3 atlarge council members 1 mayor ISSUES Economic Development 1989 Development Corporation Act cities can increase sales taxes for development voters need to approve Corpus Christi historically, voters do not approve Packery channel new direction Marina Boardwalk South Wharf Ball park DEFINITIONS Economic growth growth of the economy in aggregate measured by Gross National Product (GNP) per capita income 2000 per capita income Texas $27,752 Corpus Christi (Nueces) $24,013 San Antonio (Bexar) 25,881 Austin (Travis) 35,094 Houston (Harris) 35,268 Dallas 36,553 Economy grows through investment investing in existing business starting or relocating new businesses New businesses are attracted by tax abatement quality of life More jobs means more people will work and spend money (consumption) More sales tax (city revenue source) Problems for Corpus Christi types of jobs service industry tourism high tech jobs? Port of Corpus Christi and NAFTA Brain drain educated population leave Corpus Christi ANNEXATION effect of urbanization white flight to suburbs housing developments surface if not within city limits no taxes paid shifts tax burden to lowerincome residents Cities annex to build tax base (property taxes) Municipal Annexation Act buffer zone known as extraterritorial jurisdiction onehalf mile to 5 miles past city's limits new cities may not be incorporated within this area no city services annex to increase tax base for city No voice, no vote 1999 SB89 comprehensive annexation bill more stringent requirement for annexation voters still do not have the right to vote for or against annexation EX: Mustang Island, up to Port A COUNTIES County governments act on behalf of the state through Functions rights of way for highways law enforcement registering births, deaths, marriages state district courts motor vehicles land titles and deeds Collect state taxes and fees Structure: commissioners court governing body includes county judge and 4 commissioners commissioners 4 year terms singlemember districts county roads and bridges within their districts approve budget for county operations set tax rates pass ordinances ISSUES Constitutional rigidity Vernon's Statutes standardize laws for all counties no flexibility or discretion for serving people based on needs of county Spoils system job security dependent on who is elected Recommend merit system employment qualifications and performance more job security encourages professionalism REVENUES State taxes general sales taxes (6.25%) retail price of most items (over 50% of revenues) automobile sales (10% of revenue) motor fuels tax (11% of revenues) selective sales taxes (excise) liquor cigarettes gasoline hidden taxes (included in items purchase price) Grossreceipts taxes collected on total gross revenues business taxes no corporate income tax in Texas Local Taxes property taxes ad valorem (based on value of property) real property (land and buildings) personal property (automobiles) most local governments tax real property tax rates set by local policy bodies city councils county commissioners school boards School taxes taxes increased more rapidly than personal income heavy burden on property owners Compromise Robin Hood and reform school homestead property exemption ($5000 $15,000) Lowered tax cap (2007) Other city taxes 1% city sales tax to fund operating expenses can also collect 1% for economic development has not been successful in Corpus Christi, historically 1/8 of 1 cent approved 2003 ...
View Full Document
- Spring '08
- Government, Municipality, Corpus Christi, Local government in the United States