By Syed Aman
Texas municipal model offers important guidance
Before we discuss the Texas model, one immediate criticism (rightfully so) is that Texas is not like Pakistan and why would we want a system not compatible with the traditions and culture of Pakistan. The answer is that the Texas model has nothing to do with culture or traditions. Simply put, the Texas model provides a guide for local governments to conduct their own business without interference from the State. The State of Texas has too many other responsibilities to get into running local government affairs. Currently the State of Texas allows four types of local governments. Counties, Special Districts such as schools, Council of Governments ( referred mostly as regional planning commissions) and cities.
Texas code outlines functional responsibilities for local governments
As per the Texas code the cities have 36 administrative functions that are governmental including police, fire, health & sanitation, streets, and other related functions. Three additional functions are considered as propriety such as operations of public utilities (electric, water etc). Texas has two categorizes of cities. General law cities (smaller cities with limited powers) and home rule cities with population of 5000 or more. The cities are allowed to hold elections and adopt their charter through the vote of the people. Even at the local level, a city council cannot just approve their charter. It must be presented to the entire population for vote and approval. The Texas statutes have other specific provisions on local governance that may be useful for applications in Pakistan. For an overview of Texas local governance the Texas Municipal League analysis is an excellent guide. Also recommended is the actual Texas municipal code statutes that may offer specific legislative guidance for Pakistan.
About Syed Aman
Syed Aman is a city planner with over 35 yrs of city planning and local government experience in the United States. Syed earned an M.S. in City Planning and has numerous publications on diversified planning subjects. Syed is also the founder of actionpakistan thinktank and has a keen interest in offering solutions on governance in Pakistan with a special interest in local governance.
By Syed Aman