Late last month, Houston-area taxpayers scored a big win.
In what is being hailed as “perhaps the first time in state history that a Texas government entity has been forced to shutter by its own citizens”, the Montrose Management District voted to dissolve itself, according to the Texas Monitor.
This was a hard fought win for a community who has opposed the tax district since its creation. The District had long been criticized for incorrectly assessing taxes and was found to inappropriately assess more than $6 million in 2016. By dissolving the district, taxpayers are expected to save as much as $60 million in future assessments.
What makes this particular instance so meaningful is that once a special district is created by the legislature or by TCEQ, those entities are practically impossible to be rid of. Andy Taylor, the attorney for the Montrose taxpayers who fought the taxing district, put it another way:
This is the first time that the citizens have absolutely been able to dissolve the government. It’s an unbelievable precedent that we’ve just achieved.
While the dissolution of this district is remarkable, this episode demonstrates the need for increased state oversight and good government reforms that make it easier to sunset unwanted districts. It’s difficult to imagine a good reason why a community should have to fight for the better part of a decade to be rid of a layer of government. Texas must do more to protect its citizens from these entities and other “invisible governments.”