Chapter 11 Presentation


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Chapter 11 Presentation

  1. 1. Local and County Governments and Special Districts “You’re not remembered on how much power you had – you’re remembered on how you used it.”
  2. 2. Introduction • Former U.S. Speaker of the House Thomas O’Neill once declared, “All politics is local.” • Lives of most citizens are affected by the local government because it is the foundation of the state, national and global politics. • Local government is defined as any level of government below the state level. • The local government specifically has three levels: municipal(or city), county and special district.
  3. 3. Introduction Cont. • Local government is where many of the state’s top public figures launched their political careers. • For example, Henry Cisneros was formally San Antonio’s city councilman and mayor, then later chosen by President Clinton to serve as the secretary of housing and urban development. • Local governments also perform a wide range of services, from building roads and keeping them clean and safe to collecting garbage and providing health care for the homeless.
  4. 4. Municipal Government • This type of government applies to cities, towns and villages that are recognized by the legislature. • A municipality can only be classified in one of two ways, general law or home rule. • Both types of government are of great importance of Texans because although a majority of the cities operate under general law, a majority of Texans reside in cities with home rule also.
  5. 5. Types of Municipalities • General Law: A highly restrictive, and the most fundamental type of, legal status for municipal government. Cities under this law have limited freedom and tend to have lower taxes, smaller populations, and fewer employees. These cities are governed more by state regulation than by the local population. • Home Rule: A legal status that gives municipalities more freedom in establishing tax rates and providing services. For the most part, home rule has the opposite characteristics than general rule. These people don’t mind paying higher tax rates in return for services such as water and sewage, parks, libraries, and other recreational facilities.
  6. 6. Forms of Municipal Government • The three forms are mayor-council, council-manager and commission. • Home rule city can create and modify its form of government based on the desires or needs of the community. • General law cities may make some modifications to suit the needs of the citizens, but to a much lesser extent.
  7. 7. Mayor-Council • A simple form of government in which most of the day-to-day operations are carried out either by the mayor or by city council. • Two main variations to the mayor-council form of government can be found in Texas, a weak mayor and a strong mayor. In a weak mayor system, the mayor has limited policy changes and no veto powers. In a strong mayor system, the mayor is often empowered to veto policies and ordinances passed by the council and to hire and fire city personnel if needed be.
  8. 8. Council-Manager • This form of government is used by most medium- and larger-sized cities in Texas. • Voter who reside in the city elect a city council and a mayor, which in turn hire a city manager to carry out the council’s policies on a day-to-day basis. • The city manager is allowed to make policy decisions based on need and in the best interest of the community as a whole.
  9. 9. Commission • It provides for the direct supervision and executive powers over a specific department by an elected commissioner. • Rather than using a council to oversee the operation of the city as a whole, the commission form of government requires officeholders to oversee the day-to-day operations of their respective departments.
  10. 10. Municipal Elections • These elections are nonpartisan, meaning that the political party affiliation of the candidates is not identified during the campaign or on the ballot. • In the larger cities, candidates attempt to form coalitions, meaning that they try to get the support of members associated with various civic and professional groups such as a parent-teacher associations, neighborhood associations, and chambers of commerce. • Candidates do so because the wish to fulfill a sense of civic duty, and so others don’t think it is the money that attracts city council candidates.
  11. 11. Types of Municipal Elections • At-Large System: A method of electing representatives where there are no districts or wards drawn, and the candidate may draw votes from the entire area to be governed. The most common type of local election because it works best for small towns. • Place System: A system of electing local government leaders whereby the candidates must campaign for a particular seat on the city council. Is most often used in the medium-sized cities of Texas. • Single-Member Districts: A specific geographic area with a population equal to that of other districts that elects one person to represent that area. This allows state’s larger cities to be more diverse, which is what they prefer.
  12. 12. The Effects of Group Participation • Ethnic groups, neighborhood associations, and municipal employee associations play a major role in formulating local government policy. Ethnic Groups: find that local government is more accessible to face the struggles of discrimination practices. Neighborhood Associations: these groups have discovered that the key to change is political involvement. Municipal Employee Groups: they realize incredible gains from political participation at the local level.
  13. 13. Municipal Finance • The majority of Texas municipalities rely heavily upon property taxes to fund the services they provide. • Bonds: two bonds are sold by Texas municipalities. General Obligation: sold when the city needs to raise money to build or improve city-owned facilities. Revenue: sold for the construction or improvement of a city-owned property that is expected to generate revenue.
  14. 14. Municipal Finance Cont. • Eminent Domain: The Texas constitution allows municipalities the right to reclaim private property in the name of the government if the property is needed for the greater public good. • Budgeting: This process for municipal governments requires extensive research and planning, as cities strive to maintain the lowest tax rates possible while maintaining the highest level of service.
  15. 15. County Government The Texas Constitution calls counties “administrative arms of state government.” Everything the counties do is on behalf of the state.
  16. 16. Structure of County Government • The system allows the community to determine how best to deliver state resource the area. • Even though counties act as branches for offices of the state government, they are still considered local governments. • Commissioners Court: Each county, regardless of size and demographic composition, is governed by a five-member county commissioners court composed of four commissioners and presided over by a county judge.
  17. 17. Other Elected Officials • District Or County Attorney: The county’s legal officer and adviser, which provides legal services for county agencies and officials acting in a public service capacity and it provides representation when a lawsuit is brought against the county. • Sheriff: Their primary responsibilities are to provide law enforcement services to areas of the county that are not served by a police department and to oversee the county jail. • District Clerk: The official custodian of county records, including all fillings and proceedings for the District and County courts.
  18. 18. Other Elected Officials Cont. • County Clerk: The office is responsible for maintaining the county’s legal records and final statistics, such as birth and death certificates. • Tax Assessor-Collector: They have a important responsibility of identify taxable property and collecting taxes that are due to the state and county. • Treasurer: They are responsible for tracking all collections and expenditures and has considerable input in formulating the county’ budget.
  19. 19. County Government Finance • Compared to municipalities and special districts, counties are subject to stringent restrictions when it comes to raising revenue. • Counties may, under certain circumstances, issue bonds just like municipalities. • All Texas counties operate on yearly budget cycle, which is usually prepared by the county auditor or budget officer with input from all department heads and interested residents.
  20. 20. Criticism of County Government and Proposed Reform • Texans have been critical of the constitutional limitations imposed on counties ever since counties were created. The counties have been suggesting ways of making county government more responsible to local needs, but the obstacle that’s blocking that path is the Texas constitution. • The Long Ballot: One of the reasons voters are apathetic about county government is that they required to elect as many as six individuals to perform executive and administrative functions, yet no single person can be held accountable for the efficiency of the overall operation.
  21. 21. Criticism of County Government and Proposed Reform Cont. • Inability To Establish Home Rule: Unlike the cities and special districts, counties are constitutionally prohibited from tailoring their system to the needs and desires of local residents. • Inability To Pass Ordinances: The Commissioners Court is not empowered to create countywide ordinances to serve the safety, convenience, and moral expectations of the citizens. • Spoils System: This system awards government jobs and contracts to individuals and firms who have helped in the elected person’s political campaign.
  22. 22. Special Districts The third classification under the title of “local government” is special district. A special district is a government entity established to deliver a specific service to a limited geographic area.
  23. 23. Types of Special Districts • Education Districts: The most common form of special district in Texas is the independent school district (ISD). Independent school districts are local-level limited purpose government that determines public school policy. • The school broad hires a professional manager sometimes called a superintendent, to oversee the day-to-day operations of the school system. • Noneducation Districts: Hundreds of special districts have been established for delivering services from water and utilities, public housing, and hospitals, to public transportation and flood control.
  24. 24. Councils of Governments Councils Of Government - A regional voluntary cooperative with no regulatory or enforcement powers; consists of local governments and assesses the needs of the area as a whole. Although the needs of the local governments vary depending on variety of factors, the basics of providing governmental services are the same for virtually all local governments.
  25. 25. Chapter Summary Cities and towns are generally free to adopt and modify the structure of their own local governments as needs require. Texas has myriad local governments that provide citizens countless opportunities to participate in and affect public policy. Local government was meant to be controlled by the local populace and it also continues to be a springboard for future states and national leadership careers.
  26. 26. Brought to you by.. Vanessa Maynes & Crystal Lara :D