I’d like to use this week’s article to discuss the structure and different forms of city government in Texas. As far as structure there are general law and home rule cities. General law cities have populations of less than 5,000 and only the power that the state law authorizes. Within that category there are three different types: Type A, Type B and Type C. To not get too deep into the different types, just know they are basically based on population. General law cities do not have a charter. A charter is like the city’s constitution. In contrast a home rule city does have a charter and can create law through ordinances as long as it doesn’t violate state and federal law. I’ll discuss ordinances and resolutions later.
In addition there are two popular forms of government. They are mayor-council and city manager-council. There is a form that uses a commission, but it is not a popular form. In a mayor-council form of government the mayor runs the day-to-day operation. In a city council-manager form the city manager runs the day-to-day operation and council is a policy-making body. New York is an example of a mayor-council and Pleasanton is a city council-manager example.
The way cities can create legislation is through ordinances. Ordinances are local laws. To reiterate they cannot violate any federal or state law. A severability clause can make sure the entire ordinance is not found invalid. An emergency can be declared to allow the ordinance to take effect immediately. In addition, a resolution can be used to express an opinion or will on a matter or take action on an item.
I hope these articles are helping with a better understanding of how your local government works. Please, stay involved and informed.
CLINTON POWELL is the Mayor of Pleasanton. You may reach him at mayor@ pleasantontx.gov.