New Powers, Definitions for the Gulf Coast Water Authority

Jun 12, 2019


A new law expands the powers of the Texas Gulf Coast Water Authority but doesn’t give it the power to assess property taxes.

Governor Greg Abbott has signed Rep. Ed Thompson‘s HB 4690, which revised some of the duties of the entity and its board that began in 1965 as the Galveston Water Authority.

Rep. Thompson noted during the 86th Legislative Session that the authority has grown substantially over the years.

The authority’s boundaries are changed by the legislation to meet with the boundaries of Brazoria, Fort Bend, and Galveston Counties, rather than simply Galveston County as in the past.

The authority’s board will now be allowed to construct and “acquire improvements either within or without the boundaries thereof necessary” to discharge its duties, and can sell, lease or exchange property within its parimeters.

And the authority is allowed to borrow money “for its corporate purposes” and accept grants or contributions from governmental agencies or from individuals and to enter into agreements with those agencies or individuals.

The authority’s board will be allowed to create a non-profit corporation to act on behalf of the authority for project development.

Contracts or agreements can be free from competitive bidding in some cases, and the new law tightens rules for board members, potential conflicts of interest and how board members can be removed.

The authority is to have “no power or authority to levy and collect taxes on any property real, personal or mixed, within the boundaries of said authority, nor to have power or authority to issue bonds or create indebtedness which would in any way be payable from ad valorem taxes levied by the authority upon property within said authority.”