Texas is growing. Our growth in recent years is the result of a variety of factors, but the increased activity in the energy industries cannot be disregarded as a significant cause. The growth has not been limited to cities. The unincorporated areas of some counties have grown dramatically in recent years. Indeed, some smaller, more rural counties have experienced and begun to address the problematic questions associated with growth — including how to attract, enhance, and regulate preferred growth which improves the local economy and enhances the quality of life for the people.
The goal of sustained economic growth for Texas counties, however, carries with it unique and complex problems for county governance, including: state mandated revenue caps; unfunded state mandates; increased public demand for better infrastructure and services; rising costs; and limited authority to develop revenue to meet the people’s needs.
To address these issues, a commissioner’s court — using its lawful authority, discretion and best business judgment — should consider from time to time the tools available for economic development, including the statutes and related procedures historically viewed as relevant or applicable only to the more urban areas of the state. This paper discusses some of those tools for Texas counties — and it shows you where to find the law.