Law:Title 11. Public Safety. Subtitle A. Municipal Public Safety from Chapter 344. Fire Control, Prevention, And Emergency Medical Services Districts (Texas)

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Subtitle A. Municipal Public Safety

Contents

Chapter 344. Fire Control, Prevention, And Emergency Medical Services Districts

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Section  344.001.  Short Title.

This chapter may be cited as the Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District Act.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.002.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Board" means the board of directors of a district.

(2)  "Director" means a member of a board.

(3)  "District" means a fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district created under this chapter.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.003.  Liability Of State.

The state is not obligated for the support, maintenance, or dissolution of a district created under this chapter.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Subchapter B. Creation Of District And Temporary Board

Section  344.051.  Authority Of Municipality To Propose District.

(a) The governing body of a municipality with a population of not less than 25,000 nor more than 550,000, or a municipality with a population of more than 1.9 million, may propose the creation of a fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district under this chapter.

(b)  The proposed district may include all or any part of the municipality.

(c)  Except as provided by Subsection (f), a district may be created inside the boundaries of an emergency services district operating under Chapter 775 or 776, Health and Safety Code, only if the governing body of the emergency services district gives its written consent by order or resolution not later than the 60th day after the date the governing body receives a request for its consent.

(d)  If the governing body of the emergency services district consents to the inclusion of territory inside its geographic boundaries, the territory may be included in the district in the same manner as other territory is included under this chapter.

(e)  The consent of the governing body of the emergency services district to include territory in the district and to initiate proceedings to create a district as prescribed by this chapter expires six months after the date on which the consent is given.

(f)  Subsection (c) does not apply if:

(1)  on the effective date of this chapter, the municipality is providing fire suppression and prevention services and emergency medical services; or

(2)  the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services plan of the proposed district proposes emergency services that, on the effective date of this chapter, were not provided by any rural fire prevention district or emergency services district inside the boundaries of the municipality.

(g)  If the voters in a municipality with a population of more than 1.9 million create a fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district under this chapter, the fire department shall comply with the minimum standards established by the National Fire Protection Association or its successor in function regarding fire protection personnel operating at emergency incidents.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1204, Sec. 2.004, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  344.052.  Temporary Board.

(a) Not later than the 60th day after the date the governing body proposes to create a district under this chapter, the governing body shall appoint seven persons to serve as temporary directors of the district. The temporary directors must reside in the proposed district.

(b)  Not later than the 75th day after the date the governing body proposes to create the district, the temporary board shall conduct a meeting to organize the board. The temporary directors shall elect one of its members as presiding officer of the board at that meeting.

(c)  A temporary director other than the presiding officer may designate another person to serve in the director's place.

(d)  The governing body shall fill a vacancy in the office of a temporary director in the same manner that it originally filled the vacant position.

(e)  The term "governing body" in this section means the mayor if the municipality creating the district has a population of 1.9 million or more.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.053.  Election Required.

A proposed district may be created and a district tax may be authorized only if the creation and the tax are approved by a majority of the qualified voters of the proposed district voting at an election called and held for that purpose.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.054.  Confirmation Election Order. (a)

The temporary board may call and hold a confirmation election only after the board adopts plans under Section 344.061.

(b)  An order calling an election under Subsection (a) must state:

(1)  the nature of the election, including the proposition that is to appear on the ballot;

(2)  the date of the election;

(3)  the hours during which the polls will be open;

(4)  the location of the polling places;

(5)  a summary of the proposed district's budget plan and fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services plan; and

(6)  the proposed rate of the sales and use tax for the district.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.055.  Sales And Use Tax.

(a) A municipality that creates a district shall adopt a sales and use tax under Section 321.106, Tax Code, for financing the operation of the district. The proposed rate for the district sales and use tax imposed under Subchapter B, Chapter 321, Tax Code, may be only:

(1)  one-eighth of one percent;

(2)  one-fourth of one percent;

(3)  three-eighths of one percent; or

(4)  one-half of one percent.

(b)  A sales and use tax adopted under this chapter may be charged in addition to any other sales and use tax authorized by law, and is included in computing a combined sales and use tax rate for purposes of any limitation provided by law on the maximum combined sales and use tax rate of political subdivisions.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.056.  Notice Of Election.

In addition to the notice required by Section 4.003(c), Election Code, the temporary directors of a proposed district shall give notice of an election to create a district by publishing a substantial copy of the election order in a newspaper with general circulation in the proposed district once a week for two consecutive weeks. The first publication must appear before the 35th day before the date set for the election.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.057.  Election Date.

The election shall be held on the next uniform election date authorized by Section 41.001(a), Election Code, after the date on which the election is ordered that affords sufficient time for election procedures to be carried out.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.058.  Ballot Proposition.

The ballot for an election to create a district shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: "The creation of the ______ (name of the municipality proposing to create the district) Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District dedicated to fire safety and emergency medical services programs and the adoption of a proposed local sales and use tax at a rate of _______ (rate specified in the election order)."

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.059.  Canvassing Returns.

(a) Not earlier than the second day and not later than the 13th day after the date of the election, the temporary board shall meet and canvass the returns of the election.

(b)  If a majority of the votes cast in the election favor the creation of the district, the temporary board shall issue an order declaring the district created.

(c)  If less than a majority of the votes cast in the election favor the creation of the district, the temporary board may order another election on the matter not earlier than the first anniversary of the date of the preceding election.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.060.  Dissolution Of Temporary Board. If

a district has not been created under this chapter before the fifth anniversary of the date a district is first proposed by the governing body or mayor, as appropriate, under Section 344.051:

(1)  the temporary board is dissolved on that date; and

(2)  the proposed district may not be created under this chapter.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.061.  Fire Control, Prevention, And Emergency Medical Services Plan And Budget Plan.

(a) The temporary board shall develop and adopt a two-year fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services plan and a two-year budget plan. The fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services plan must include:

(1)  a detailed list of the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services strategies to be supported by the district; and

(2)  the method of evaluating each year the effectiveness and efficiency of individual fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services strategies.

(b)  The budget plan must include:

(1)  the amount of money budgeted by the district for each fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services strategy;

(2)  the amount of money budgeted by the district and the percentage of the total budget of the district for administration, with individual amounts showing the cost of the administration that would be conducted by the district and the cost of administration that would be conducted by private or public entities;

(3)  the estimated amount of money available to the district from all sources during the subsequent year;

(4)  the account balances expected at the end of the years for which the budget is prepared; and

(5)  the estimated tax rate that will be required to support the budget.

(c)  Plans under this section must be adopted in the same manner as provided for adoption of a proposed annual budget under Section 344.204.

(d)  The temporary board shall coordinate its efforts in developing its plans under this section with appropriate local officials and entities.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.062.  Financing Creation Of District.

(a) A municipality creating a district shall pay the entire cost of creating the district.

(b)  If a district is created, the district shall reimburse the municipality for the actual expenses the municipality incurred in the creation of the district.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Subchapter C. Administration

Section  344.101.  Board Of Directors.

(a) Except as provided by Subsections (e) and (f), a district is governed by a board of seven directors appointed in the same manner as provided by Section 344.052(a) for the appointment of temporary directors.

(b)  Initial appointees under this section shall draw lots to determine their terms so that:

(1)  three directors serve terms that expire on September 1 of the first year following creation of the district; and

(2)  four directors serve terms that expire on September 1 of the second year following creation of the district.

(c)  Directors serve staggered two-year terms.

(d)  A vacancy in the office of director shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner that the vacant position was originally filled.

(e)  The governing body of a municipality by resolution may appoint the governing body's membership as the board of directors of the district, if the appointment is approved by the voters in a creation election or continuation referendum under this chapter. A member of a governing body appointed under this section as an ex officio director serves a term concurrent with the member's term as a member of the governing body.

(f)  In a district for which the governing body of the municipality does not serve as the district's board of directors, the governing body may create a board of directors for which one director is appointed by each member of the governing body to serve at the pleasure of that member for a term not to exceed two years and that expires when the member of the governing body that appointed the director leaves office.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.102.  Performance Bond.

(a) Before assuming the duties of the office, each director or officer must execute a bond for $5,000 payable to the district, conditioned on the faithful performance of the person's duties as director or officer.

(b)  The bond shall be kept in the permanent records of the district.

(c)  The board may pay for the bonds of directors or officers with district funds.

(d)  The board and the district may issue and sell bonds conditioned on the faithful performance of a person's duties as a director as provided by this section.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.103.  Officers.

(a) The board shall elect from among its members a president and vice president.

(b)  The board shall appoint a secretary. The secretary may be a director.

(c)  The person who performs the duties of auditor for the municipality shall serve as treasurer of the district.

(d)  Each officer of the board serves for a term of one year.

(e)  A vacancy in a board office shall be filled by the board for the unexpired term.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.104.  Compensation.

A director or officer serves without compensation, but a director or officer may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in the performance of official duties. Those expenses must be reported in the district's minute book or other district record and must be approved by the board.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.105.  Voting Requirement.

A concurrence of a majority of the members of the board is necessary in matters relating to the business of a district. A two-thirds majority vote of the board is required to reject any application for funding available under this chapter.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.106.  Contract For Administrative Assistance.

The board may contract with a public agency or private vendor to assist the board in the administration or management of the district or to assist the board in the review of applications for funding available under this chapter.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Subchapter D. Powers And Duties

Section  344.151.  Financing District Programs.

(a) The district may finance all costs of a fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district program, including costs for personnel, administration, expansion, enhancement, and capital expenditures.

(b)  The program may include:

(1)  fire apparatus and equipment;

(2)  a bomb disposal unit and related equipment;

(3)  compensation of fire protection and prevention personnel for specialized training regarding:

(A)  arson;

(B)  bomb disposal;

(C)  hazardous materials;

(D)  technical rescue;

(E)  paramedic certification; and

(F)  any other specialized training under the program;

(4)  funding for turn-out gear, self-contained breathing apparatus, and protective uniforms or other firefighter safety equipment;

(5)  additional compensation for municipal fire-fighting personnel, including overtime compensation for unforeseen staffing needs; and

(6)  funding for the construction and maintenance of fire stations, training facilities, or the equipment needed for those stations or facilities.

(c)  The program may include an enhanced emergency communications center or other emergency communications programs and equipment, including:

(1)  emergency medical dispatch training;

(2)  additional fire and emergency medical service dispatchers;

(3)  uniformed fire deployment and communications officers;

(4)  real-time weather information; and

(5)  computer databases and systems maintenance personnel for hazardous materials responses.

(d)  The program may include a public training program, including:

(1)  a juvenile fire starter program;

(2)  an urban survival program, including school programs for fire safety, gun safety, and safety with strangers;

(3)  a fire prevention program;

(4)  a fire education program;

(5)  a hazardous materials education program;

(6)  a psychological intervention program; and

(7)  a citizen's ride-along program or home inspection program.

(e)  The program may include public preventive health programs, including:

(1)  juvenile inoculations;

(2)  weekend health days;

(3)  first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation training;

(4)  injury prevention; and

(5)  drug and alcohol awareness.

(f)  The program may include response training programs, equipment, facilities, and instructors, including:

(1)  a regional training center for fire, rescue, hazardous materials, and emergency medical services;

(2)  staff personnel to support the center;

(3)  equipment and apparatus to support the center;

(4)  computer-aided continuing education training conducted in-station; and

(5)  training regarding hazardous material storage and response.

(g)  The program may include computers and other systems to support information management systems to:

(1)  maintain occupancy information;

(2)  track incident analyses;

(3)  track incident reports;

(4)  track internal communications and reporting;

(5)  maintain inventory; and

(6)  serve other information management needs.

(h)  The program may include capital items needed to improve emergency response and increase service efficiency, including equipment, apparatus, vehicles, and training material or equipment.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.152.  Coordination; Evaluation; Grants.

(a) The district shall coordinate its efforts with local agencies in developing its fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services program.

(b)  The district shall conduct an annual evaluation program to study the impact, efficiency, and effectiveness of new or expanded fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services programs.

(c)  The board may seek the assistance of the Office of State-Federal Relations in identifying and applying for federal grants for fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services programs.

(d)  The district may apply for and receive grants for fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services programs from a state or federal agency.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.153.  General Board Power Over Funds. The

board shall manage, control, and administer the district finances except as provided by Section 344.205.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.154.  Use Of Revenue. The

board may spend revenue derived from the sales and use tax distributed under Section 321.106, Tax Code, only for a purpose authorized by Section 344.151.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.155.  Rules And Procedures.

(a) A board may adopt rules governing programs financed by the district and the functions of district staff.

(b)  The board may prescribe accounting and control procedures for the district.

(c)  The board is subject to Chapter 2001, Government Code.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.156.  Purchasing.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the board may prescribe the method of making purchases and expenditures by and for the district.

(b)  To the extent competitive bidding procedures in Title 8 apply, the board may not enter into a purchasing contract for more than $15,000 unless the board complies with Chapter 252.

(c)  If the municipality that created the district has a purchasing agent authorized by law, that agent shall serve as purchasing agent for the district.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.157.  Property To Be Used In Administration.

The board may lease or acquire in another manner facilities, equipment, or other property for the sole purpose of administering the district.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.158.  Reimbursement For Services.

(a) A county or municipality located outside the boundaries of a district on the district's request shall reimburse the district for the district's cost of including a resident of that county or municipality who is not a resident of that district in a district program.

(b)  On behalf of the district, the board may contract with a municipal or county government or with the state or federal government for the municipal, county, state, or federal government to reimburse the district for including a person in a district program.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.159.  Service Contracts.

The board may contract with the following entities to furnish the staff, facilities, equipment, programs, or services the board considers necessary for the effective operation of the district:

(1)  a municipality, county, special district, or other political subdivision of the state;

(2)  a state or federal agency;

(3)  an individual; or

(4)  a private person.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.160.  Donations, Gifts, And Endowments.

On behalf of the district, the board or the temporary board may accept a donation, gift, or endowment. The district may hold a donation, gift, or endowment in trust for any purpose and under any direction, limitation, or other provision prescribed in writing by the donor that is consistent with this chapter and the proper management of the district.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.161.  Authority To Sue And Be Sued.

The board may sue and be sued in the name of the district.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Subchapter E. District Finances

Section  344.201.  Fiscal Year.

(a) The board shall establish the fiscal year for the district, and the district shall operate on the basis of that year.

(b)  The fiscal year may not be changed more than once in a 24-month period.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.202.  Audits And District Records.

(a) The board shall have an annual audit made of the financial condition of the district by an independent auditor.

(b)  The annual audit and other district records shall be open to inspection during regular business hours at the principal office of the district.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.203.  Annual Budget Proposal.

(a) The board shall propose an annual budget. The board shall consider the applications for program funding in preparing the proposed budget.

(b)  The proposed budget must contain a complete financial statement, including a statement of:

(1)  the outstanding obligations of the district;

(2)  the amount of cash on hand to the credit of each fund of the district;

(3)  the amount of money received by the district from all sources during the previous year;

(4)  the estimated amount of money available to the district from all sources during the current fiscal year;

(5)  the amount of money needed to fund programs approved for funding by the board;

(6)  the amount of money requested for programs that were not approved for funding by the board;

(7)  the tax rate for the next fiscal year;

(8)  the amount of the balances expected at the end of the year in which the budget is being prepared; and

(9)  the estimated amount of revenues and balances available to cover the proposed budget.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.204.  Adoption Of Budget.

(a) Not later than the 100th day before the date each fiscal year begins, the board shall hold a public hearing to consider the proposed annual budget.

(b)  The board shall publish notice of the hearing in a newspaper with general circulation in the district not later than the 10th day before the date of the hearing.

(c)  A resident of the district is entitled to participate in the hearing.

(d)  Not later than the 80th day before the date each fiscal year begins, the board shall adopt a budget. The board may make any changes in the proposed budget that the interests of the taxpayers demand.

(e)  Not later than the 10th day after the date the budget is adopted, the board shall submit the budget to the governing body of the municipality that created the district.

(f)  The board by rule may adopt alternative procedures for adopting a budget that differ from the procedures outlined in this subchapter. The board must hold at least one public hearing related to the alternative procedures before their adoption.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.205.  Approval Of Budget.

(a) Not later than the 45th day before the date each fiscal year begins, the governing body of the municipality that created the district shall hold a public hearing to consider the budget adopted by the board and submitted to the governing body.

(b)  The governing body must publish notice of the hearing in a newspaper with general circulation in the district not later than the 10th day before the date of the hearing.

(c)  A resident of the district is entitled to participate in the hearing.

(d)  Not later than the 30th day before the date the fiscal year begins, the governing body shall approve or reject the budget submitted by the board. The governing body may not amend the budget.

(e)  If the governing body rejects the budget submitted by the board, the governing body and the board shall meet and together amend and approve the budget before the beginning of the fiscal year.

(f)  The budget may be amended after the beginning of the fiscal year on approval by the board and the governing body.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.206.  Limitations On Expenditures And Investments.

(a) The district may spend money only for an expense included in the annual budget or an amendment to the budget.

(b)  A district may not incur a debt payable from revenues of the district other than the revenues on hand or to be on hand in the current or immediately following fiscal year of the district.

(c)  The board may not invest district money in funds or securities other than those specified by Chapter 2256, Government Code.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.207.  Account Of Disbursements Of District.

Not later than the 60th day after the last day of each fiscal year, an administrator shall prepare for the board a sworn statement of the amount of money that belongs to the district and an account of the disbursements of that money.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.208.  Deposit Of Money.

(a) The board shall deposit district money in a special account in the treasury of the municipality that created the district.

(b)  District money, other than that invested as provided by Section 344.206(c), shall be deposited as received in the treasury of the municipality and must remain on deposit.

(c)  The board shall reimburse the municipality for any costs, other than personnel costs, the municipality incurs for performing the duties under this section.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.209.  Applications For Program Funding. (a)

An officer of the municipality that created the district or the head of a department of that municipality may, with the consent of the governing body of the municipality, apply to the board for funding of a program described by Section 344.151.

(b)  The officer must apply under this section not later than the 140th day before the date the fiscal year begins, unless the board by rule has adopted an exception.

(c)  The board by rule may adopt application procedures.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.210.  Bonds Prohibited.

The board may not issue or sell general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, or refunding bonds.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Subchapter F. Referendum On Continuation Or Dissolution Of District

Section  344.251.  Referendum Authorized.

(a) The board may call and hold a referendum election on the question of whether to:

(1)  continue the district; or

(2)  dissolve the district.

(b)  A board may order a referendum election on its own motion.

(c)  The board shall order a referendum election:

(1)  on receipt of a petition that requests continuation or dissolution of the district and complies with the requirements of Sections 344.252-344.256; or

(2)  if the governing body of the municipality that created the district, after notice and a public hearing on the matter, by resolution requests a referendum on continuation or dissolution.

(d)  The board may not hold a referendum election under this subchapter before the fourth anniversary of the date the district was created or before the third anniversary of the date of the last continuation or dissolution referendum election.

(e)  For a continuation referendum election, the ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: "Whether the ____________ (name of the municipality that created the district) Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District should be continued and whether the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district sales and use tax should be continued."

(f)  For a dissolution referendum, the ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: "Whether the ____________ (name of the municipality that created the district) Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District should be dissolved and whether the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district sales and use tax should be abolished."

(g)  The governing body of a municipality that creates a district under this chapter may specify the number of years for which the district should be continued. The board or the governing body of a municipality may continue a district for 5, 10, 15, or 20 years. For a continuation referendum election under this subsection, the ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: "Whether the ______ (name of the municipality that created the district) Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District should be continued for ______ years and whether the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district sales and use tax should be continued for _____ years."

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 662, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.



Section  344.252.  Application For Petition.

(a) On written application of 10 or more registered voters of the district, the clerk of the municipality that created the district shall issue to the applicants a petition to be circulated among registered voters for their signatures.

(b)  An application for a petition to continue the district must contain:

(1)  the heading: "Application for a Petition for a Local Option Referendum to Continue the Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District and to Continue the Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District Sales and Use Tax";

(2)  the statement: "Whether the ______ (name of the municipality that created the district) Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District should be continued and whether the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district sales and use tax should be continued";

(3)  immediately above the signatures of the applicants, the statement: "It is the purpose and intent of the applicants whose signatures appear below that the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district be continued and that the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district sales and use tax in ___________ (name of the municipality that created the district) be continued"; and

(4)  the printed name, signature, residence address, and voter registration certificate number of each applicant.

(c)  An application for a petition to dissolve the district must contain:

(1)  the heading: "Application for a Petition for a Local Option Referendum to Dissolve the Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District and to Abolish the Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District Sales and Use Tax";

(2)  the statement: "Whether the ___________ (name of the municipality that created the district) Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District should be dissolved and whether the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district sales and use tax should be abolished";

(3)  immediately above the signatures of the applicants, the statement: "It is the purpose and intent of the applicants whose signatures appear below that the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district be dissolved and that the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district sales and use tax in ___________ (name of the municipality that created the district) be abolished"; and

(4)  the printed name, signature, residence address, and voter registration certificate number of each applicant.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.253.  Petition.

(a) A petition for a referendum to continue a district must contain:

(1)  the heading: "Petition for a Local Option Referendum to Continue the ____________ (name of the municipality that created the district) Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District and to Continue the Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District Sales and Use Tax";

(2)  a statement of the issue to be voted on in the same words used in the application;

(3)  immediately above the signatures of the petitioners, the statement: "It is the purpose and intent of the petitioners whose signatures appear below that the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district be continued and that the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district sales and use tax in ___________ (name of the municipality that created the district) be continued";

(4)  lines and spaces for the names, signatures, residence addresses, and voter registration certificate numbers of the petitioners; and

(5)  the date of issuance, the serial number, and the seal of the clerk of the municipality on each page.

(b)  A petition for a referendum to dissolve a district must contain:

(1)  the heading: "Petition for a Local Option Referendum to Dissolve the __________ (name of the municipality that created the district) Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District and to Abolish the Fire Control, Prevention, and Emergency Medical Services District Sales and Use Tax";

(2)  a statement of the issue to be voted on in the same words used in the application;

(3)  immediately above the signatures of the petitioners, the statement: "It is the purpose and intent of the petitioners whose signatures appear below that the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district be dissolved and that the fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services district sales and use tax in ___________ (name of the municipality that created the district) be abolished";

(4)  lines and spaces for the names, signatures, residence addresses, and voter registration certificate numbers of the petitioners; and

(5)  the date of issuance, the serial number, and the seal of the clerk of the municipality on each page.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.254.  Copies Of Application And Petition.

The clerk or secretary of the municipality shall keep an application and a copy of the petition in the files of the clerk's or secretary's office. The clerk shall issue to the applicants as many copies as they request.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.255.  Filing Of Petition.

To form the basis for the ordering of a referendum, the petition must:

(1)  be filed with the clerk or secretary of the municipality not later than the 60th day after the date of its issuance; and

(2)  contain at least a number of signatures of registered voters of the municipality equal to five percent of the number of votes cast in the municipality for all candidates for governor in the most recent gubernatorial general election.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.256.  Review By Clerk Or Secretary.

(a) The clerk or secretary of the municipality shall, on the request of any person, check each name on a petition to determine whether the signer is a registered voter of the district. A person requesting verification by the clerk or secretary of the municipality shall pay the clerk or secretary a sum equal to 20 cents for each name on the petition before the verification begins.

(b)  The clerk or secretary of the municipality may not count a signature if the clerk or secretary has a reason to believe that:

(1)  it is not the actual signature of the purported signer;

(2)  the voter registration certificate number is not correct;

(3)  it is a duplication either of a name or of handwriting used in any other signature on the petition;

(4)  the residence address of the signer is not correct; or

(5)  the name of the voter is not signed exactly as it appears on the official copy of the current list of registered voters for the voting year in which the petition is issued.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.257.  Certification.

Not later than the 40th day after the date a petition is filed, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, the clerk or secretary of the municipality shall certify to the board the number of registered voters signing the petition.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.258.  Election Order.

(a) The board shall record on its minutes the date the petition is filed and the date it is certified by the clerk or secretary of the municipality.

(b)  If the petition contains the required number of signatures and is in proper order, the board shall, at its next regular session after the certification by the clerk or secretary of the municipality, order a referendum election to be held at the regular polling place in each election precinct in the municipality on the next uniform election date authorized by Section 41.001(a), Election Code, that occurs at least 20 days after the date of the order.

(c)  The board shall state in the order the proposition to be voted on in the referendum election. The order is prima facie evidence of compliance with all provisions necessary to give it validity.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.259.  Applicability Of Election Code.

A referendum election authorized by this subchapter shall be held and the returns shall be prepared and canvassed in conformity with the Election Code.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.260.  Results Of Referendum.

(a) If less than a majority of the votes cast in a continuation referendum election are for the continuation of a district or if a majority of the votes cast in a dissolution referendum are for dissolution of the district:

(1)  the board shall certify that fact to the secretary of state not later than the 10th day after the date of the canvass of the returns; and

(2)  the district is dissolved and ceases to operate.

(b)  If a majority of the votes cast in a continuation referendum election are for the continuation of the district or if less than a majority of the votes cast in a dissolution referendum election are for dissolution of the district, another referendum may not be held except as authorized by Section 344.251.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.261.  Election Contest.

Not later than the 30th day after the date the result of a referendum is declared, any qualified voter of the district may contest the election by filing a petition in a district court located in the district.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Subchapter G. District Dissolution

Section  344.301.  Time For Dissolution Of District.

(a) A district is dissolved five years after the date the municipality began to impose taxes for district purposes if the district has not held a continuation or dissolution referendum.

(b)  The district is dissolved on the fifth anniversary of the date of the most recent continuation or dissolution referendum.

(c)  Subsection (b) does not apply to a district that is continued under Section 344.251(g), and that district is dissolved on the expiration of the period for which it was continued.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.



Section  344.302.  Dissolution Of District.

(a) On the date that the district is dissolved, the district shall convey or transfer, as provided by Subsection (h):

(1)  title to land, buildings, real and tangible improvements, and equipment owned by the district;

(2)  operating money and reserves for operating expenses and money that has been budgeted by the district for the remainder of the fiscal year in which the district is dissolved to support fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services activities and programs for residents of the municipality that created the district;

(3)  taxes imposed for the district during the current year for fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services purposes;

(4)  each fund established for payment of indebtedness assumed by the district; and

(5)  any money accumulated in an employee retirement fund.

(b)  After the date the district is dissolved, taxes may not be imposed for district purposes or for providing fire control, prevention, and emergency medical services activities and programs for the residents of the district.

(c)  If on the date that the district is dissolved the district has outstanding short-term or long-term liabilities, the board shall, not later than the 30th day after the date of the dissolution, adopt a resolution certifying each outstanding short-term and long-term liability. The municipality that created the district shall assume the outstanding short-term and long-term liabilities. The municipality shall collect the sales and use tax under Chapter 321, Tax Code, for the remainder of the calendar year and may by resolution of its governing body continue to collect the tax for an additional calendar year if the revenue from the tax is needed to retire liabilities of the district that were assumed by the municipality. The governing body shall notify the comptroller of this continuation not later than the 60th day before the date the tax would otherwise expire. A tax collected after the liabilities have been retired shall be transferred or conveyed as provided by Subsection (a).

(d)  The district and the board may continue to operate for a period not to exceed two months after carrying out the responsibilities required by Subsections (a) and (c). The board and the district are continued for the purpose of satisfying these responsibilities.

(e)  If the board and the district are continued under Subsection (d), the board and district are dissolved entirely on the first day of the month following the month in which the board issues an order certifying to the secretary of state that the responsibilities of Subsections (a) and (c) are satisfied.

(f)  A district or board that continues to operate under Subsection (d) may not incur any new liabilities without the approval of the governing body of the municipality that created the district. Not later than the 60th day after the date of the dissolution referendum, the governing body shall review the outstanding liabilities of the district and set a specific date by which the municipality must retire the district's outstanding liabilities.

(g)  On the date that the district is dissolved, programs funded by the district shall immediately terminate and personnel paid from district funds, except personnel required to retire the responsibilities of the district, are terminated.

(h)  The board shall convey or transfer the value of the items described by Subsection (a) to the municipality that created the district.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1295, Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2001.


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