During an Aug. 8 Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting, Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack made a request for the county attorney to look at methods of removing city extraterritorial jurisdictions within the county precincts. Extraterritorial jurisdictions, or ETJs, are areas outside of a city boundary in which the city can exercise certain legal powers. For example, portions of Precinct 3 contain ETJs for the city of Houston.

What residents need to know

Senate Bill 2038 was passed in the 88th Legislature and provides a number of options for residents to leave a city’s ETJ and be under the complete jurisdiction of the county.

There are three methods by which areas can be annexed from an ETJ:
  • A petition of at least 51% of residents
  • An election with at least 5% of eligible voters participating
  • Voluntary release of the ETJ by the city
The purpose behind the bill will allow residents to be serviced by the county without any necessary interlocal cooperation with cities, such as Houston and Conroe, according to discussion at the meeting.

Quote of note

“Commissioner [Noack], if you would, take charge of this deal and get with the community, and we need to move forward on this because I would be in favor of this wholeheartedly, for sure,” Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough said.

What’s next

The court directed County Attorney BD Griffin to look into potential avenues for using SB 2038 for eliminating ETJs in Precinct 3 primarily and any communication the county could provide to residents.