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Section 4: Payment of Special Commissioners' Fees and Eminent Domain Costs

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Special Commissioners' Fees

Property Code, Section 21.047 provides for setting fees for services by the special commissioners. The presiding judge has jurisdiction for setting a reasonable fee for each special commissioner. Submit payment requests for special commissioners' fees to ROW_Acquisition-Payments@txdot.gov. The email subject line should include the ROW CSJ #, parcel #, and type of payment request.

Supporting documentation to include with special commissioners' fees payment request:

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  • form ROW-A-15 Payment Request, signed by authorized TxDOT employee per special commissioner;
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  • copy of the commissioners' award showing the fees set by the judge; or
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  • copy of an order by the judge setting the fees.

Any variation in the names of commissioners used requires an affirmation by TxDOT that the person's name shown in the award and the person's name appearing differently on form ROW-A-15 Payment Request is the same person. For this reason, the special commissioners should sign the award exactly as their names appear in the award or order appointing the commissioners. If the case is dismissed, then the payment request must include a certified (or fully signed copy) of the Order of Dismissal and two copies.

Other ED costs will also require the use of form ROW-A-15 Payment Request for payment. The following subsection provides information required on the ROW-A-15 Payment Request for each situation.

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Situations and Required Information

When No Objections are filed to the commissioners' award, the filing fee is due when the judgment is entered only if the judgment assesses the costs against the State. Submit payment request for filing fees to ROW_Acquisition-Payments@txdot.gov. The email subject line should include the ROW CSJ #, parcel #, and type of payment request.

Supporting documentation to include with payment request:

When Objections to the Commissioners' Award have been filed by either party, the filing fee is payable by the State.

Make all payment requests for other eminent domain fees prescribed by law, and show an itemized listing of all eligible charges, or support the billing by a signed (or certified) copy of the clerk's itemized listing of charges.

Other items and services required by the State may also be due. Pay these directly to the person who provided them, and do not include them in the clerk's bill of costs. These items may include certified copies, recording Notice of Lis Pendens, and recording judgments in the deed records. Submit payment request to ROW_Acquisition-Payments@txdot.gov. The email subject line should include the ROW CSJ #, parcel #, and type of payment request.

Supporting documentation to include with payment request:

Service of Notice of Hearing out of State. When notices of hearing must be served on out-of-state parties to condemnation proceedings, this service is usually performed by a private process server or the sheriff of the county in which the defendant resides, and payment for this service is authorized.

State law provides that any person competent to testify may serve the notice (Property Code, Section 21.016). TxDOT must directly process and handle all out-of-state services and must be responsible for paying the sheriff or other party who serves the defendant. If TxDOT receives a request from another State to serve a notice to a Texas resident, TxDOT may, at its discretion and taking into account its own particular workload, perform such service. If TxDOT declines to serve notice, promptly return the request to the other State along with an explanation.

Submit payment request to ROW_Acquisition-Payments@txdot.gov. The email subject line should include the ROW CSJ #, parcel #, and type of payment request.

Supporting documentation to include with payment request:

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  • form ROW-A-15 Payment Request (Enter “Serve notice of hearing” in the comments field of the payment folder detail tab in ROWIS.);
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  • invoice.

Service of Notice of Hearing within the State. State law provides that any person competent to testify may serve the notice (Property Code, Section 21.016). When an authorized person serves notices of hearing on parties to condemnation proceedings, fees for such services, if any, must be paid directly to the authorized person.

TxDOT must obtain all notices required after the hearing when requested by OAG.

Citation by Publication. Submit payment request to ROW_Acquisition-Payments@txdot.gov. The email subject line should include the ROW CSJ #, parcel #, and type of payment request.

Supporting documentation to include with payment request:

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  • invoice;
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  • form ROW-A-15 Payment Request (Enter “Serve notice of hearing” in the comments field of the payment folder detail tab in ROWIS).

Court Reporters and Court Stenographers. Pay the fees for a statement of facts (or transcript) for any condemnation proceeding when this service is requested by OAG or TxDOT.

Make payment to the court reporter on the basis of the legal established rate per one hundred words for the original statement of facts and a reasonable charge for additional copies. Though the law is silent in regard to the allowable charges for copies, the charge should not exceed the cost of the original transcript and is usually based upon a rate of approximately one half the established rate for the original transcript.

Submit payment request to ROW_Acquisition-Payments@txdot.gov. The email subject line should include the ROW CSJ #, parcel #, and type of payment request.

Supporting documentation to include with payment request:

Recording of Lis Pendens. Submit payment request to ROW_Acquisition-Payments@txdot.gov. The email subject line should include the ROW CSJ #, parcel #, and type of payment request.

Supporting documentation to include with payment request:

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  • form ROW-A-15 Payment Request (Enter “Recording Notice of Lis Pendens” in the comments field of the payment folder detail tab in ROWIS.);
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  • invoice.

Recording of Judgments in the Deed Records. Prepare form ROW-A-15 Payment Request, through ROWIS, when the county clerk will be paid separately for recording judgments in the deed records.

Submit payment request to ROW_Acquisition-Payments@txdot.gov. The email subject line should include the ROW CSJ #, parcel #, and type of payment request.

Supporting documentation to include with payment request:

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  • form ROW-A-15 Payment Request (Enter “Recording Judgment in Deed Records” in the comments field of the payment folder detail tab in ROWIS.);
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  • invoice.

Furnishing Certified Copies. Prepare the county clerk's billing using form ROW-A-15 Payment Request, through ROWIS, when certified copies of papers (such as the Award of Special Commissioners or judgment) are required.

Submit payment request to ROW_Acquisition-Payments@txdot.gov. The email subject line should include the ROW CSJ #, parcel #, and type of payment request.

Supporting documentation to include with payment request:

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  • form ROW-A-15 Payment Request (Enter “Certified Copies” in the comments field of the payment folder detail tab in ROWIS.);
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  • invoice.
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