Texas Attorney General Opinion: JC-73 Page: 3 of 4
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The Honorable Rob Hofmann - Page 3
improving a road is one factor, but certainly not the only factor, for the court to consider in deciding
whether or not to improve a particular county road. TEX. TRANSP. CODE ANN. 251.003 (Vernon
1999). The county roads are public roads, built and maintained for the use of the public. See
Robbins v. Limestone County, 268 S.W. 915, 919 (Tex. 1925). The county is to exercise its power
to provide for the improvement of the public roads for the general good of the public, and not in the
interest of any particular individual or entity. Grayson County v. Harrell, 202 S.W. 160, 163 (Tex.
Civ. App.-Amarillo 1918, writ ref'd) (dicta).
A commissioners court may not accept a condition that is inconsistent with other law, such
as provisions of the road law applicable to the county. Nor may the commissioners court delegate
its decision-making authority to others. Id.; see also Clear Lake City Water Auth. v. Clear Lake
Utils. Co., 549 S.W.2d 385, 391 (Tex. 1977). In deciding whether or not to improve a particular
county road, the commissioners court should evaluate all factors in terms of their contribution to the
county road system as a whole. See generally Tex. Att'y Gen. LO-98-087, at 6. A court will reverse
a commissioners court's decision to improve a particular county road only if the court "has acted
arbitrarily, capriciously, collusively, fraudulently, or otherwise in abuse of its discretion." Hooten
v. Enriquez, 863 S.W.2d 522, 528 (Tex. App.-El Paso 1993, no writ).
You have mentioned various factors indicating that the county's acceptance of the donation
to pave the county road in question would not benefit the Mason County road system. It is for the
commissioners to evaluate these and all other relevant matters and to decide, in the exercise of good
faith discretion, whether to pave the road and to accept the donation to be used for that purpose. If
it makes this determination, the court may agree to accept the donation with the specified condition,
the agreement subject to being overturned only for an abuse of discretion. Of course, the
commissioners court may not agree to any condition contrary to relevant statutes or constitutional
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: JC-73, text, 1999; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth274382/m1/3/: accessed March 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.