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Collins v. County of El Paso – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Collins v. County of El Paso, 954 S.W.2d 137 (Tex. App.--El Paso 1997, pet. denied), the county published a "Notice to Bidders" in the local paper without specifying the sale procedure to be used under the Local Government Code.

After a bid was accepted and the earnest money check deposited, the county commissioner's court, over the course of several weeks, was unable to procure sufficient votes to authorize the county judge to sign the warranty conveying the property. Id. at 143.

Litigation ensued, and the County of El Paso asserted the county commissioner's court had failed to provide proper notice of the proposed land sale pursuant to the mandates of section 263.007 of the Local Government Code. Id. The trial court granted summary judgment, finding section 263.007 controlled the sale, and its requirements were not met. Id. at 145.

On appeal, the El Paso Court of Appeals reversed, holding there are two methods by which a county may conduct a sale of real property-section 263.001, the alternate, "discretionary" procedure, and section 272.001, the "default" procedure that provides minimally sufficient procedures that counties must comply with when selling real property. Id. at 149-50.

Because there was no evidence the county intended the bid procedure to be governed by the requirements of section 263.007, given the county's failure to adopt a procedure for the sale and its failure to reference either section 263.007 or section 272.001, the court held the "default" provision of section 272.001 controlled. Id.

The County argued that even though section 263.007 was not explicitly referenced in the published Notice to Bidders, it could be inferred by the county's actions in attempting to sell the property that the county intended the sale to be conducted pursuant to section 263.007. Id. at 150.

The appellate court rejected this argument, stating "the absence in the record of any indication that County Commissioners adopted a procedure to sell real property by sealed bid renders moot a discussion of the second element required in Section 263.007--the determination of a minimum bid under Section 263.007(c)(2)." Id. at 149.