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New Texas Law May Make It ‘Almost Impossible’ For Cities To Annex Land

A new law went into effect Friday that requires Texas cities to get voter approval before annexing an area

Pearland annexed almost 2,000 acres of land shortly before the new law took effect.

Pearland is one of several Texas cities that appeared to quickly annex areas in their extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ, right before a new law established by Senate Bill 6 took effect.

The law requires cities to seek voter approval before annexing land.

"Those areas have been in the ETJ for probably close to 50 years and subject to being incorporated into the city," Pearland City Manager Clay Pearson said. "And so that should be no real surprise."

But residents of those annexed areas are not happy.

Yes, they'll get more city services, but they'll also have to pay city property taxes now.

And that's why James Thurmond, director of the University of Houston's public administration program, thinks the law will make it almost impossible for cities to annex land in the future.

"Citizens that live outside the city, if they can get free city services and use city facilities and everything and get them free, why should they pay for them?" said Thurmond, who has managed different cities in the past. "So they're usually not going to vote to be annexed."

The new law only applies to cities in counties with at least 500,000 people.


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