Speaker: Ed Emmett, Former County Judge-Harris County
Takeaway: Governance in Harris County has evolved in a way that is unique to any city of our size in the world: Houston, 32 other municipalities, and a population living in the unincorporated areas, which, if it were one city, would be the fifth largest in the U.S. This creates governmental / administrative challenges for us, moving forward.
● To ensure its growth would not be choked by a ring of smaller cities, Houston years ago annexed the highways leading into the city throughout the county, and created an Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) which froze all existing small municipalities and prevented them from expanding ● Many citizens in the Houston area prefer to live in the suburbs for the schools and for larger, more affordable homes
● Expansion of subdivisions in the ETJ is done by forming legal taxing entities – not cities- called Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) which build utilities and roads which are to the specifications of Houston but which remain ‘in the county’, not in Houston.
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