San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 1st, 2008
County enters new agreement with Buda

STAFF REPORT

When the Texas Legislature formed extra-territorial jurisdictions (ETJ) in the 1990s, it soon learned that city control over lands outside of city limits was fraught with complications, especially since counties retained some authority.

Thus, the legislature passed a measure in 2001 allowing cities and counties to enter into inter-local agreements, just so the cities and counties could cooperate in developmental issues.

The confusion persists in some areas, because the state does not require cities and counties to strike inter-local agreements.

“Those are the places that need the agreements the most,” said Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton (D-Kyle). “If you can’t even agree on an inter-local agreement, you probably can’t agree on development.”

Tuesday, the Hays County Commissioners Court signed onto a new inter-local agreement with Buda, which went to home rule last November and, therefore, is allowed to claim a larger ETJ. The new agreement replaces an old agreement, which has expired.

The idea behind ETJs is to give cities some developmental controls over areas not quite within the city limits, laying the groundwork so those cities might someday annex those properties.

The new inter-local agreement assigns most subdivision review to the City of Buda, while the county retains its review powers over roads and drainage.

“The county still has a pretty direct interest in roads and drainage,” said Barton, who represents the Buda area.

Barton said the county is at work trying to brush up its inter-local agreements with various cities. Generally, he said, counties take that initiative because they have several cities to address and, therefore, several agreements, while each city is involved in only one such agreement.

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