Best planning and implementation toolbox

Management District:

Purpose of Tool:
Management districts, which exist in various forms throughout the United States, are similar to public improvement districts and Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs). These districts are created to fund improvements and services for the betterment of communities, such as water and sewer infrastructure and transportation improvements. Funding systems for management districts are often implemented through the use of ad valorem taxes and bonds. In the State of Texas, management districts are created through the Texas Legislature and these management districts are then added to the Texas State Constitution.

Benefits of Using Tool:
A management district provides an avenue for long-term, dedicated funding for improvements. Given the recent shortage of infrastructure funding on many levels of government, dedicated funding sources are key to ensuring the implementation of projects. Moreover, these improvements benefit the economy of a region through development, business diversification, increasing employment, expanding transportation and commerce, and the like.

Steps Involved to Use Tool:
Chapter 375 of the Texas Local Government Code specifies the procedures by which management districts must be established. A petition must be submitted to the local government stating:
(a) The boundaries of the district
(b) The specific purpose of the district
(c) The general nature of the work/projects/services proposed, the need for these services, and the estimated costs of the services
(d) A name for the district
(e) A list of proposed initial directors, including the directors’ experience and initial terms of service
(f) A resolution by the local government that supports the creation of the district

The petition must also be signed by at least 50% of property owners in the proposed district, or owners of at least 50% of the land area. Before establishment of the district, a public hearing must be held to advise the community of the nature of the district.

Special Requirements to Use Tool:
Other than the conditions and procedures described above, there are no special requirements or considerations for using this tool in the State of Texas. Other states may provide more specific regulations for the establishment and operation of management districts.

Specials Resources Needed to Use Tool:
In Texas, management districts may only be created in eligible areas. Eligibility criteria include areas with primarily commercial/business activity and (a) a population of at least 25,000 or (b) the inclusion of a nearby territory with at least 25,000 in population, if the assessed value of the areas is at least $500 million.

Communities / Agencies that Have Used Tool:
Management districts have been authorized by Chapter 375 of the Texas Local Government Code.
The City of Houston established the Midtown Management District in 1999. It works in concert with the Midtown Redevelopment Authority to create an economically thriving, community-based environment in Midtown Houston. The district levies an assessment on residential and commercial property owners to provide services beyond what the City typically provides. These services and improvements include marketing and perception enhancement, urban planning, services and maintenance, and security and public safety.  Contact:

Gayle Forston - Chair of Midtown Management District Board of Directors
713-526-7577

The City of El Paso, Texas established the El Paso Downtown Management District in 1997 to improve the public infrastructure, property, streets, and the environment in downtown El Paso. Downtown commercial property owners are assessed an extra $0.12 per $100.00 of property value, creating annual budget of over $530,000 per year for improvements (FY 2008-2009). The management district has the power to borrow money, to purchase or lease property, to pursue grants, and to issue bonds for improvements in the district.  Contact:

Bill Hooten - President
210-225-1831

Metrics to Use to Monitor Tool Effectiveness:
As different management districts initiate different types of improvements, there are no standard, quantifiable measures on how the districts improve quality of life.

List of Resources to Obtain Additional Info:
References:
- Chapter 375 of the Texas Local Government Code (PDF)
- Midtown Houston – About Us: http://www.houstonmidtown.com/midtown.cfm?a=cms,c,33,6 
- Midtown Houston – Midtown Management District: http://www.houstonmidtown.com/midtown.cfm?a=cms,c,14,2 
- El Paso Downtown Management District: http://www.elpasodowntownmanagementdistrict.org/