The Underwood Law Firm would like to remind its independent school district clients that they must take action by December 31, 2012 to preserve their eminent domain authority. Eminent domain is the power of a governmental body, like a school district, to take private property for public use. Eminent domain is a rarely used but extremely valuable tool for school districts to retain in the event that specific real property is necessary for the operation of the district. The 82nd Legislature enacted Senate Bill 18, which requires all entities with eminent domain authority to submit a letter to the Comptroller of Public Accounts via certified mail detailing all legal authority granting them such power. If the proper notice is not submitted to the Comptroller by December 31, 2012, a governmental entity will forfeit its eminent domain power as of September 1, 2013.
In order to maintain your school district’s eminent domain authority, the Underwood Law Firm recommends that school boards pass a resolution: (1) identifying all provisions of law that grant independent school districts eminent domain authority; and (2) authorizing the superintendent to send the proper notice of this authority to the Comptroller. The Underwood Law Firm can assist you with drafting agenda and resolution language for this purpose, and also provide you the specific authority for completing the Comptroller’s form. If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact one of Underwood’s Public Education Law Section lawyer’s listed below. If you have already taken action and filed the proper notice with the Comptroller, you may confirm that your notice was received by the Comptroller by following this link here: Comptroller’s lists of filings it has received.