July 24, 2023 | Cole Arreola-Karr
Special district stakeholders from across Texas convened in Austin on July 20 for a first-time “Texas Special Districts Summit” of the local government sector’s leaders in the state.
In all, 25 elected board members, district managers, state association leads, legal and nonprofit consultants held robust discussions on mutual policy priorities, shared professional service needs, and next steps for state special district coalition-building.
Efforts to curtail local government revenues and operations were top of mind for attending districts, as the Texas legislature gaveled out of the second special session focused on property tax reductions for school district operation and maintenance just one week prior. The group also expressed concern and firm interest in elevating awareness and understanding of special districts services and issues in state government. Stakeholders seek to grow in number to coalesce on advocacy and other needs ahead of the next regular legislative session in 2025.
District leaders concentrated on the fundamental importance of telling their stories of providing critical infrastructure and essential community services to enhance the quality of life in their communities. Simon VanDyk, Touchstone District Services’ Director of Business Development, presented on best practices in legislative and community stakeholder engagement to achieve district priorities and advance community services.
Approximately 2,500 special districts altogether provide a wide range of services to millions of Texans. Attendees reflected several of the state’s district services including emergency services (fire protection/ambulance), drinking water, wastewater, water conservation, library, and mosquito abatement.
The stakeholder group will meet again in late September.
The National Special Districts Coalition sponsored the Texas Special District Summit. The event was also sponsored in part by Roach & Associates, PLLC, an NSDC Affiliate Member.
Contact Cole Arreola-Karr, National Special Districts Coalition Federal Director, for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org