A judge in Texas’s 333rd district court signed off on a finding this week siding with the plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that the Montrose Management District has been illegally levying taxes within its boundaries (shaded in blue above). Per state law the district only needed 25 signatures from would-be affected property owners to form in 2011; the case went to court back in 2012 after around 988 other property owners within those boundaries signed petitions to shut the district down.
The court’s freshly filed judgement document says that the formation of the district required the initial sign-on of 25 property owners who would be subject to the taxation by the new district; the court ruled that although the district did have 26 signatures, 3 of those folks weren’t actually taxed for all of the years the district has been in operation — dropping the number of valid signatures down to 23, and rendering the basis for the district’s authority moot. The judge also says the district must now pay back the money collected so far — around $6.59 million.
Map and photo: Montrose Management District
MONTROSE DISTRICT BATTLE HEADS TO COURT The owner of a 6-unit apartment complex in Montrose has filed suit against the Montrose Management District, hoping a court decision will help shut down the taxing entity. A petition calling for the dissolution of the district was delivered to the organization’s managers last September. It contained 988 signatures — accounting for more than the required 75 percent of the district’s assessed property values, according to district opponents. But the district says the 75 percent threshold hasn’t been met, because its count includes the value of residential properties in the total. The lawsuit says including residences to figure the 75 percent threshold is “perverse,” since the district can only assess taxes on commercial property. [Houston Chronicle; more info; previously on Swamplot] Map: Stop the District
Opponents of the 8-month-old Montrose Management District are now claiming they have collected enough signatures to dissolve the entity. Created in February from the combination of the East Montrose Management District and the recently established Harris Country Improvement District No. 11, the new district is one of several such organizations given taxing authority by the state legislature; its assessments and security, business development, transportation, and visual improvement projects are aimed at the approximately 1,400 commercial and multifamily properties in the area bounded roughly by Shepherd, West Dallas, Taft St. and Spur 527, and the Southwest Fwy. (also included: a small portion of the Museum District east of Boulevard Oaks). Stop the District organizers say creation of the district required the signatures of only 25 property owners, but that their dissolution petition has been signed by property owners representing more than 75 percent of the property value in the area.
Map: Montrose Management District