The state of Texas sued the city of Double Horn, claiming the recent incorporation of the city was invalid and failed to comply with statutory requirements. File photo
STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
The future of the newest city in Texas is in doubt.
The state of Texas, through Attorney General Ken Paxton, filed a lawsuit against the city of Double Horn on March 1.
Originally filed in the 33rd Judicial District Court, the case was moved to the 424th Judicial District Court.
Double Horn’s mayor, five aldermen, and city marshal were served notice before their City Council meeting March 14, according to Mayor Cathy Sereno.
The lawsuit was not on that meeting’s agenda, so the council could not discuss it March 14. The city’s next City Council meeting is 7 p.m. April 27 at the Spicewood Community Center, 7901 CR 404.
“We will discuss it at that time. At this point, we turned it over to our attorneys,” Sereno said.
The City Council will discuss the lawsuit and consider any potential action at that meeting.
A hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. April 3 in the 424th Judicial District Courtroom, 1701 E. Polk St. in Burnet.
“We’re a community of law-abiding citizens, and we believe we met the legal requirements,” Sereno said. “That said, we still have to make a decision of what we’re going to do as we move forward.”
The state’s lawsuit claims the city did not meet two requirements to incorporate as a Type B general-law municipality: “that the community intending to incorporate constitutes an unincorporated town or village prior to incorporation” and “the proposed boundaries include only the territory to be used strictly for municipal purposes.”
To the first point, the state claims Double Horn did not operate as a town or village before incorporating.
“The Double Horn subdivision was just that: It was a residential subdivision, not a ‘town’ or ‘village.’” the lawsuit states.
Second, the state argues that the 281 acres owned by Spicewood Crushed Stone LLC was not part of the Double Horn subdivision.
“Moreover, land within the town must be susceptible of receiving some municipal services,” the lawsuit states. “… There is no evidence that any changes will be made to reflect a municipal form of government other than the exercise of regulatory authority over (Spicewood Crushed Stone) with the goal of preventing SCS from using its property for a lawful purpose.”
Sereno said she was “not totally surprised” by the lawsuit and expected some sort of action to come from Spicewood Crushed Stone.
“We believe, in reading the lawsuit, that it was motivated by a private commercial entity,” Sereno said. “Specifically, Spicewood Crushed Stone.”
Double Horn residents in September filed an application for a special election to vote on incorporation. On Dec. 6, residents approved the incorporation by a 75-65 vote. Another special election Feb. 12 was for the city’s first officials.