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Political and Policy Dynamics of Municipal Annexation in Texas

PAQ, Vol. 44 No. 2, 289-328 (2020)

The dynamics of municipal annexation remain understudied, with no definitive conclusions on the various components that lead a city to succeed or fail in expanding its borders. This case study advances understanding by examining three Texas cities in the period after the state began to impose restrictions (1999) but prior to the effective end of unilateral annexation authority in 2017. Results provide an in-depth explanation of local conditions that may trigger disparate outcomes within a consistent state context. Key factors that exerted varying effects in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio included political structure, ability to negotiate with special districts, and the economics of service extension. In each case, the role of residents opposed to incorporation into the neighboring city played a significant role, both directly and in shaping the impact of other factors.

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