The legislative institution for counties is called a

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The legislative institution for counties is called a Commissioners Court - The body traces its origins to Texas’ colonial past under Spain and Mexico - Cortes Generales = Spanish Parliament - It is not a court in a judicial sense, but is actually a semi - parliamentary body with executive oversight - Composed of five members, each elected to a four - year term: - A County Judge who chairs the court and is elected at - large - Prior to independence, this position was called Alcalde - Four County Commissioners , each representing a precinct - The County Judge also oversees county - level executive activity - May also have separate judicial duties in rural counties - unrelated to Commissioners’ court - Each commissioner has a staff to oversee executive activity in his precinct 99
4. County Executives - County Judge : most powerful elected official, can influence budget for any department or any precinct - County Sheriff : chief law enforcement officer, appoints deputies, oversees county jails - County Constables : up to 8 per county, correspond to Justice of the Peace precincts (not commissioner precincts) - District Attorney : chief prosecutor for the District Court - County Attorney : represents the state in court and is the legal advisor to county officials - County Clerk : chief recordkeeper for the county, and maintains vital records for citizens - Tax Assessor- Collector: collects taxes and fees, registers vehicles, and registers voters - County Treasurer : Keeps the county’s funds and disburses payments as authorized by Commissioners Court 100
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102 LOCAL GOVERNMENT PART III: CITIES
1. Fundamentals of City Government - Known also as municipal government - Texas has 1,214 cities - Cities exist to deliver localized services and are constitutionally optional as a level of government - Even though every Texan lives in a county, not every Texan lives in a city - City government powers are outlined and restricted by state and national constitutions, municipal charters, and statutes - Texas has two legal classifications of cities: - General Law Cities : a community with a population of 200 or more; charter powers limited by state law - Home Rule Cities : a community with a population of 5,000 or more; may locally adopt and revise its own charter 103
2. Powers of General Law Cities - A general law city has extraterritorial jurisdiction over zoning and building for half a mile beyond its formal boundaries - Extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ): the legal capability of a municipality to exercise authority beyond the boundaries of its incorporated area - A general law city may annex territory no greater than 10 percent of their existing land but the residents must approve of the annexation by a majority vote - Annexation: a process by which a municipality expands its boundaries into adjacent areas not already incorporated into the municipality 104 LOS YBANEZ, SMALLEST CITY IN TEXAS, WITH A POPULATION OF 19
3. Home Rule Cities - A locally modifiable city charter establishes the powers of municipal officers, sets salaries

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