County Charter Bill
Mon November 26, 2012
Could The City Of San Antonio And Bexar County Become One Governing Body?
The City of San Antonio and Bexar County could have a unified government if a bill in the legislature giving voters the option to create a county charter is made law.
Like all counties in Texas, Bexar County has a Commissioner’s Court and its municipalities have independent mayor/council governments. A bill filed in the House by State Representative Lyle Larson would merge the two for a metro-government.
“I think it’s time for the state of Texas to look at changing the architecture of government,” Larson said. “Or at least having the opportunity for folks in this these large urban areas looking at the possibility of consolidating their city and county government.”
Larson, who has served on both the San Antonio City Council and Bexar County Commissioners Court, filed a similar bill last session but only received a hearing in the County Affairs Committee, “So it’s a follow up from the last session,” he added.
One possible government structure could create three or four additional city council seats and expand district’s to the county line. Smaller cities like Leon Valley and Windcrest would have to opt-in.
In order to create a more streamlined government, some departments and positions would need to be merged; like the sheriff’s office and police department, or fire chief and fire marshal.
“With the revenue streams being stressed at the state and the local level, and now where the federal level just simply doesn’t have revenue to share with these communities, you’re going to have to look at different ways you can become more efficient,” Larson said.
After legislative approval, voters would need to decide on whether or not to form a charter committee, and follow up with a subsequent vote to approve the charter.
Texas currently does not have any consolidated county and city governments.
Thanks to user Randy Bear (see comments) for the heads up about Oregon Metro. If you would like to know more about this organization of government please refer to the following links: