DOWNTOWN GUIDE + EVENTS

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Governance refers to all processes of governing, whether undertaken by a government, market or network, whether over a family, tribe, formal or informal organization or territory and whether through laws, norms, power or language.

Overview & Powers

A Municipal Management District (MMD) is an economic development tool that allows property owners to enhance a defined area. A MMD is created by an act of the Texas Legislature and derives its rights and powers through “enabling legislation.”

Houston Downtown Management District (“Downtown District” or “HDMD”) was created in the regular session of the Texas Legislature in the spring of 1995 under Chapter 375 of the Local Government Code, and currently is codified as Chapter 3801 of the Texas Special Downtown Districts Code. HDMD became effective on August 2, 1995 and was organized on August 29, 1995. In 1999, the Downtown District’s boundaries were expanded by the Texas Legislature to include all of the 1,178 acres that lie primarily within the freeway ring around the City of Houston’s city center. The Downtown District’s purpose is the continued pursuit of a plan for downtown’s revitalization and sustainability as a diverse, desirable, accessible and perpetually active core of the Houston region.

In addition to the rights, powers, privileges, authority, and functions of a MMD created under the aforementioned Chapter 375 of the Local Government Code, to accomplish its purposes the Downtown District may employ the rights granted to political subdivisions under Article 16, Section 59, of the Texas Constitution, including those conferred by Chapter 54 of the Texas Water Code, and the powers under Article 3, Section 52, of the Texas Constitution and Chapter 365 and Chapter 441, Texas Transportation Code. The Downtown District does not have power of eminent domain and cannot finance by assessment services or improvements unless a petition has been filed with the board signed by a requisite number of landowners.

The Downtown District may levy assessments, ad valorem taxes, and/or impact fees. The Downtown District may incur liabilities, borrow, issue bonds, or other obligations, acquire and dispose of property, construct, develop, encourage, and maintain employment, commerce, transportation, housing, tourism, recreation, arts, entertainment, economic development, safety, and the public welfare.

Assessments & Bonds

The Downtown District apportions the cost of improvements and services based on value of land & improvements as certified by the Harris County Appraisal District. The Downtown District’s Assessment Plan provides comprehensive information on current rates, exclusions and exemptions. Levied assessments are billed annually by the Downtown District’s consultant, ITM Services, LLC.

The Downtown District may issue bonds payable by assessments or ad valorem taxes. The City must approve the bond issue or a capital improvements budget that is financed from a bond issue. The Downtown District must hold an election and obtain voter approval to impose a maintenance tax or to issue bonds payable from ad valorem taxes or assessments. At present, the Downtown District has no outstanding bonds.

Intergovernmental Agreements

HDMD is a governmental agency and political subdivision of the State of Texas. It may enter into intergovernmental agreements with other units of government at the federal, state, and local level.

Torts & Claims

The Downtown District is a unit of government for purposes of http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CP/htm/CP.101.htm Chapter 101, Civil Practice and Remedies Code and is immune from torts claims.

Rights and Powers of the Houston Downtown Management District

•  Chapter 375, Texas Local Government Code, governs municipal management Downtown Districts
•  Chapter 3801, Texas Special Downtown Districts Code, rights and powers of Houston Downtown Management Downtown District
•  Texas Constitution: Article 3, Section 52, powers of a road Downtown District and the power to levy property taxes; and, 16.59 Article 16, Section 59, powers of a conservation and reclamation Downtown District
•  Chapter 54, Texas Water Code, powers of a municipal utility Downtown District
•  Chapter 395, Texas Local Government Code, financing capital improvements required by new development in municipalities, counties, and certain other local governments

State ethics, policy and procedures statutes applicable to the Downtown District

•  Chapter 375, Texas Local Government Code, which governs municipal management Downtown Districts, generally sets forth conflicts of interest rules for directors
Chapter 171, Texas Local Government Code, which defines substantial interests and sets forth procedures for dealing with conflicts of interest
• Chapter 36, Texas Penal Code, which prohibits bribery, improper influence and acceptance of certain gifts by directors, officers, and employees of public bodies
Chapter 573, Texas Government Code, anti-nepotism rules
•  Chapter 49, Texas Water Code, which requires the board to adopt a code of ethics and various other policies and procedures
Chapter 176, Texas Local Government Code, which requires directors and the executive officer to file conflicts of interest disclosure statements whenever anyone contracts or seeks to contract with the Downtown District for the sale or purchase of property, goods or services, and the director or officer or their family members have received taxable income or gifts over $250 from the contractor
Chapter 551, Texas Government Code, Open Meetings Act
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/GV/htm/GV.552.htm Chapter 552, Texas Government Code, Public Information Act

Investment and Security of Funds of Political Subdivisions (“Investment Laws”)

Chapter 49.057, 49.156, 49.157, 49.1571, Texas Water Code and Chapter 404.101, Texas Government Code, State Treasury Operations of Comptroller
•  Chapter 791, Texas Government Code, Interlocal Cooperation Contracts
Chapter 2256, Texas Government Code, Public Funds Investment
Chapter 2257, Texas Government Code, Collateral for Public Funds

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Copies of cited legislation are available by contacting Anita J. Dick, HDMD’s Records Management Officer, at ajd@downtowndistrict.org or 713.650.3022 


Assessments are collected by ITM Services, LLC. If you have questions or want to view your assessment bill, please contact the Assessment Office.

To make an assessment payment, please click here