NEW: City of Round Rock hires attorney to prepare for possible fight over proposed sales tax rule

In a move to prepare for possible legal action against the Texas Comptroller’s Office, Round Rock City Council voted unanimously April 23 to retain the services of the Law Firm of Cindy Olson Bourland, P.C. (Community Impact Staff)
In a move to prepare for possible legal action against the Texas Comptroller’s Office, Round Rock City Council voted unanimously April 23 to retain the services of the Law Firm of Cindy Olson Bourland, P.C. (Community Impact Staff)

In a move to prepare for possible legal action against the Texas Comptroller’s Office, Round Rock City Council voted unanimously April 23 to retain the services of the Law Firm of Cindy Olson Bourland, P.C. (Community Impact Staff)

In a move to prepare for possible, future legal action against the Texas Comptroller’s Office, Round Rock City Council voted unanimously April 23 to retain the services of the Law Firm of Cindy Olson Bourland, P.C.

At issue: Comptroller Glenn Hager in January proposed a rule change that could cost the city of Round Rock at least $20 million in annual sales tax revenue.

Hager’s proposal would redistribute sales tax collected on internet purchases by routing tax revenue to the purchaser’s city rather than to the city where the online sale is received by the business. For Round Rock, home of Dell Technologies, a business that receives and fulfills billions of dollars of internet orders every year, the loss in sales tax revenue is projected to be detrimental to the city’s budget.

“The rule would potentially have a very adverse impact on the city of Round Rock and, we believe, the state of Texas in general,” Round Rock City Attorney Steve Sheets said.

Sheets said the city submitted comments to the comptroller’s office April 3. Hegar’s office is expected to respond to all comments received during the public comment period sometime next week, Sheets said.


“Just in case the rule doesn’t go our way, we needed to be ready,” Sheets said. “We are engaging Ms. Bourland to assist in providing the legal services that might be necessary. It’s possible that the comptroller will do what we asked him to do, and we won’t need to do anything. But it’s also possible that he won’t.”

The firm’s agreement with the city states that services could include “consultation and representation regarding proposed rule changes by the comptroller relating to local sales tax.”

“It’s my honor to be able to represent the city of Round Rock,” Cindy Bourland said during council's April 23 meeting. “I’m happy to assist the city and city attorney as needed. Hopefully, this matter with the comptroller can be resolved promptly.”

Bourland said she is a fifth-generation native of Round Rock who has been in private law practice for 22 years. She charges an hourly rate of $475 and will serve as the lead attorney in matters between the city and the comptroller, per the agreement. Legal fees for the firm’s work are not to exceed $150,000 unless the city approves a higher amount in advance, the letter states.

“Please understand that given the scope of this matter and the potential for legal proceedings that [might] take a substantial amount of time, including the possibility of filings in district court and related appeals, it is certainly possible that legal fees could reach or exceed that cap,” Bourland said in the letter. “It is impossible for me to predict now how long the city might need my representation in this matter, and consequently, I am unable to make an estimate of total legal fees at this juncture.”

By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


MOST RECENT

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. (Courtesy Texas Children’s Hospital)
'We still have a long way to go': Central Texas physician answers questions about COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions for Community Impact Newspaper related to the coronavirus vaccine, its efficacy and costs, and other related matters.

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter. (Courtesy Adobe Stock Images)
President Joe Biden's inauguration spurs reactions from elected officials around Texas

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter.

In addition to vaccine hubs, there are also smaller community vaccine providers throughout Texas, such as pharmacies, that may also have the vaccine available. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
EXPLAINED: When, where and how Texans can receive the COVID-19 vaccine

As Texas is still in the early stages of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, many Texans are still unsure about where, when and how they can get inoculated.

Feeding Texas hosted a Jan. 19 webinar to discuss legislative highlights for the 87th Texas Legislature. (Screenshot courtesy Feeding Texas)
Food insecurity in Texas' 87th Legislature: Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas to propose legislation addressing hunger

Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas hosted a webinar Jan. 19 to discuss increasing funding and accessibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the 87th legislative session.

COVID-19 vaccines
DATA: Texas has vaccinated about 9% of estimated Phase 1 recipients

Over 1.1 million individuals from the Phase 1 population, which is estimated to include 13.5 million individuals total, have received at least one dose.

Bob Popinski, policy director of Raise Your Hand Texas, shared the organization's top education priorities for the ongoing legislative session. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
‘What does virtual learning and remote learning look like moving forward?': Raise Your Hand Texas policy director talks legislative priorities

Bob Popinski is the director of policy for Raise Your Hand Texas, an Austin-based organization committed to improving public education. He spoke with Community Impact Newspaper in late December about the 87th legislative session, which began Jan. 12.

H-E-B is preparing to accept coronavirus vaccine appointments through an online portal. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
H-E-B launches vaccine portal; Whipped Bakery opens in Leander and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar shared a new revenue estimate for the 2022-23 biennium Jan. 11. (Courtesy Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts)
Comptroller projects drop in state revenue, potential for economic uptick for next biennium

Despite the slight reduction in expected revenue for the state's 2022-23 budget, recovery could be on the horizon.

See how COVID-19 is impacting Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County adds more than 900 new cases Jan. 9-11

See how COVID-19 is impacting Williamson County.

After every decennial census, states and local jurisdictions must go through a process known as redistricting: redrawing the boundaries for representation. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
More congressional seats, equal populations: What redistricting means for Texas in 2021

Community Impact Newspaper spoke with Jeff Archer, executive director of the Texas Legislative Council, in January about the redistricting process that will be carried out by the Texas Legislature this year.

The acquisition of the Texas franchise by Peak Rock Capital was completed in early January. (Courtesy Shipley Do-Nuts)
Shipley Do-Nuts acquired by Austin-based private investment firm affiliate

The Texas franchise known for kolaches and doughnuts has been in business for more than 80 years.