Government

The inhabitants of the City of Kilgore, Gregg and Rusk counties, Texas, within the corporate limits as established incorporated in 1931 and adopted a City Charter becoming a Home Rule city in 1960.  The local government was established in the manner provided by the charter and is constituted as a municipal body politic and corporation, in perpetuity, under the name of the "City of Kilgore," with such powers, privileges, rights, duties and immunities as follows.

The City of Kilgore is a "council-manager form of city government."  Pursuant to its provisions and subject only to the limitations imposed by the constitution and general laws of the State of Texas and by the charter, all powers of the city are vested in the elective city council.  The City Council enacts local legislation, adopts budgets, determines policies, and appoints the city manager who shall execute the laws and administer the government of the city. All powers of the city are exercised in the manner prescribed by the charter, or if the manner is not prescribed, then in a manner as prescribed by an ordinance adopted by the City Council.

The city has all the powers granted to municipal corporations and to cities by the constitution and general laws of the State of Texas together with all the implied powers necessary to carry into execution all the powers granted.  The city may acquire property within or without its corporate limits for any city or corporate purpose or purposes in fee simple or any lesser interest or estate, by purchase, gift, devise, lease or condemnation, and may sell, lease, mortgage, hold, manage and control such property as its interests may require; and, except as prohibited by the constitution of this state or restricted by the charter, the city shall and may exercise all municipal powers, functions, rights, privileges and immunities of every name and nature whatsoever. The city may use a corporate seal, may sue and may be sued, may contract and be contracted with, may implead and be impleaded in all courts and places and in all matters whatever, may cooperate with the government of the State of Texas or any agency thereof, the federal government or any agency thereof, or any political subdivision of the State of Texas, to accomplish any lawful purpose for the advancement of the interest, welfare, health, morals, comfort, safety and convenience of the city or its inhabitants, and may pass such ordinances as may be expedient for maintaining and promoting the peace, welfare and government of the city, and for the performance of the functions thereof. The enumeration of particular powers of this charter shall not be deemed to be exclusive, and in addition to the powers enumerated therein or implied thereby, or appropriate to the exercise of such powers, it is intended the city shall have, and may exercise, all powers of local self-government, and all powers enumerated in or authorized by title 28, chapter 13, article 1175 of the Revised Civil Statutes of the State of Texas of 1925, and amendments thereto and hereafter enacted, or any other powers which, under the constitution and general laws of the State of Texas it would be competent for the charter specifically to enumerate.

Before the city shall be liable to damage claim or suit for personal injury or damage to property, the person who is injured or whose property is damaged or someone in his behalf shall give the city manager or the city clerk notice in writing within thirty days after the occurring of the alleged injury or damage, stating specifically in such notice, when, where and how the injury or damage was sustained, and setting forth the extent of the injury or damage as accurately as possible, and giving the names and addresses of all witnesses upon whose testimony such person is relying to establish the injury or damage. No action at law for damages shall be brought against the city for personal injury or damage to property prior to the expiration of sixty days after the notice hereinbefore described has been filed with the city manager or the city clerk.  After the expiration of the sixty days aforementioned, the complainant may then have two years in which to bring an action of law.  In case of injuries resulting in death, before the city shall be liable in damages therefore the person or persons claiming such damages shall within thirty days after the death of the injured person give notice as above required in case of personal injury.

The city shall have the full right, power and authority to exercise the power of eminent domain to acquire property within or outside the city limits for any municipal purpose when necessary or desirable to carry out any of the powers conferred upon it by the charter, or by the constitution or general laws of the State of Texas.  In all cases where the city seeks to exercise the power of eminent domain, it may be controlled, as nearly as practicable, by the laws governing the condemnation of property by the State of Texas.  The city may also exercise the power of eminent domain in any other manner authorized or permitted by the constitution and general laws of this state, or in the manner and form that may be provided by ordinance of the governing body of the city.  The power of eminent domain hereby conferred shall include the right of the city to take the fee in the lands so condemned and such power and authority shall include the right to condemn public property for such purposes. The city shall have and possess this power of condemnation for any municipal or public purpose, even though not specifically enumerated herein or in this charter.

The city shall have the power to lay out, establish, open, alter, widen, lower, extend, grade, abandon, discontinue, abolish, close, care for, dispose of, pave, supervise, maintain and improve streets, alleys, sidewalks, parks, squares, public places and bridges, and regulate the use thereof and require the removal from streets, sidewalks, alleys and other public property or places of all obstructions and all encroachments of every nature or character upon any of said streets, sidewalks or other public property.

The city shall have exclusive dominion, control and jurisdiction in, upon, over and under the public streets, avenues, alleys and highways of the city, and may provide for the improvement thereof by paving, repaving, raising, draining, or otherwise. The provisions of Chapter 313 of the State Transportation Code, together with existing amendments and all such amendments as hereinafter may be made, are expressly adopted and made a part of the charter.  Such exclusive dominion, control and jurisdiction in, upon, over and under the public streets, avenues, alleys and highways of the city shall also include, but not be limited to, the right to regulate, locate, remove or prohibit the location of, all utility pipes, lines, poles, wires or other property.

Whenever a majority of the qualified voters who are citizens of the State of Texas and inhabitants of any territory adjoining the city, as said territory may be designated by the city council or in case there are no qualified voters in said territory, then when persons owning a majority of the land in area in said territory desire the annexation of such territory to the city, they may present a written petition to the city council and the city council at regular session held not sooner than twenty days after the presentation of said petition may by ordinance annex such territory to the city and thenceforth the said territory shall be a part of the city, and the inhabitants thereof shall be entitled to all of the rights and privileges of other citizens and shall be bound by the acts, ordinances, resolutions and regulations of said city.

The city council shall have the power by ordinance to fix the boundary limits of the city; and to provide for the extension of said boundary limits and the annexation of additional territory lying adjacent to the city, with or without the consent of the territory and inhabitants annexed.  During the annexation process, the city council shall provide an opportunity for all interested persons to be heard at public hearing(s), in conformance with state law.  Upon the final passage of any such ordinance, the boundary limits of the city shall thereafter be fixed in such ordinance.  When any additional territory has been annexed, the same shall be a part of the city, and the property situated therein shall bear its pro rata part of the taxes levied by the City, and the inhabitants thereof shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges of all citizens, and shall be bound by the acts, ordinances, resolutions and regulations of the city.

The city council shall have the right by ordinance to adopt and prescribe rules and regulations for the handling and disposition of all garbage, trash and rubbish within the city, and shall further have the right to fix charges and compensation to be charged by the city for the removal of garbage, trash and rubbish, providing rules and regulations for the collection of such charges or compensation.

In addition to the powers relative to city property and utilities contained elsewhere in the charter and the state laws, and without the intent of limitation, the following are set out for greater certainty:

(1)     The city shall have the power to provide for sewage disposal and a sanitary sewer system and to require property owners to connect their premises with such sewer system; to provide for fixing penalties for failure to make sanitary sewer connections; and shall further have the right to fix charges and compensation to be charged by the city for sewerage service, providing rules and regulations for the collection thereof.

(2)     The city shall have power to provide for a water supply and waterworks system; and shall have the power by ordinance to adopt and prescribe regulations governing the use of such system and the water distributed by such system, including the right by ordinance to provide for regulations governing the collection of charges for water services.

The city shall also have power to extend the lines and services of its sewerage and waterworks systems or other service facilities outside the city limits and to sell water, sewerage services and other services to any person, firm or corporation outside the city limits, or permit them to connect therewith under contract with the city under such terms and conditions as may appear to be for the best interest of the city.  The city council shall have power to prescribe rules and regulations governing the conditions under which the city may allow its water, sewerage or other service facilities to be used.