PN looks to form special purpose district

Published 10:54 am Monday, February 6, 2017

PORT NECHES — Leaders in Port Neches are looking to create a special purpose district that could help with development of the city’s riverfront area.

But to facilitate the issue, the city first needed to hire a legal firm. They did that on Thursday with the hiring of Smith, Murdaugh, Little & Bonham, LLP.

Port Neches City Manager Andrè Wimer said that in order to create a special purpose district, the approval of the Texas legislature is needed and the law firm was hired to facilitate this.

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A special purpose district is a government entity, like a school district, and it can have a broad array of powers. Some are routine and likely would not need the approval of city council. Some powers, however, of greater significance, will require the approval of council such as the levying of taxes within the boundaries of the district or issuing debt that would be repaid only by taxes generated from within the boundaries of the district.

In Texas, hundreds of local governments called special purpose districts that oversee a variety of special services including water conservation, toll roads, hospitals, libraries, utilities and fire control efforts, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website.

There are 287 special purpose districts in Texas that impose sales and use tax, according to the Comptroller’s site. Orange County Emergency Services District No. 3 and Hardin County emergency Services District No. 2 are some of these.

There are also a number of crime control districts in the state as well as hospital districts such as the Winnie-Stowell Hospital District, Baylor County Hospital District, Rice Hospital District and more.