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Public Safety

State of Texas
Texas Attorney General's Office
Opinion Notifications
Friday, February 16, 2018

The Texas Attorney General's Office on Thursday issued legal opinions on three matters regarding state law, including whether a county commissioners court may deny a county judge longevity pay due to receipt of a state salary supplement.

Regarding the commissioners court's ability to deny a county judge longevity pay, the Attorney General's Office stated that the Government Code "does not preclude a county policy that excludes a county judge who receives a State salary supplement from receiving longevity pay paid to other officers and employees, provided the policy does not effectively reduce the county judge's salary to offset the county judge's State salary supplement." Opinion

The opinion was requested by Leon County Attorney James Caleb Henson. Request

The Attorney General's Office also issued an opinion regarding the authority under the Texas Constitution of a Type-A general law municipality to expend funds or resources on various tasks related to events sponsored by the area chamber of commerce, such as Christmas on the Plaza and Petersburg Days.

According to the Attorney General's Office, the Texas Constitution "prohibits the gratuitous payment of public funds for a private purpose."

"Because the determination whether a particular expenditure or use of public resources is gratuitous is, in the first instance, for the city council subject to judicial review for abuse of discretion, we cannot determine as a matter of law that the use of city resources in these circumstances is constitutional," stated the opinion. "Upon a finding by the city council that the Chamber's use of city resources serves a public purpose of the municipality and that sufficient controls exist to ensure the public purpose is carried out and a return benefit is received, article III, section 52(a) authorizes the use of city resources for these purposes." Opinion

The opinion was requested by Hale County Attorney James Tirey. Request

The Attorney General's Office issued an opinion regarding whether a county may transfer funds from the road and bridge account to a general account to pay all or a portion of a commissioner's salary when the commissioner spends a substantial portion of time performing road and bridge maintenance.

According to the Attorney General's Office, "a county road and bridge fund may derive income from multiple sources."

"Whether a county may transfer money from the road and bridge fund to the general fund to pay a commissioner's salary depends on the constitutional, statutory, or contractual provisions governing the disposition of the specific money at issue," stated the opinion. "Concho County may transfer article VIII, section 9(a) property tax revenue from the county road and bridge fund to the general fund, and it may use that money to pay a commissioner's salary. However, it may not use funds deposited in the road and bridge fund pursuant to section 502.198 of the Transportation Code to pay all or a portion of a commissioner's salary." Opinion

The opinion was requested by Concho County Attorney J. Bryan Clayton. Request

Remembering Jim Guidry

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