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

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Special Commissioners' Fees

Property Code, §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.

  • Use Form 132 to make payment for the following Special Commissioners' Fees.
  • In payment requests for Special Commissioners' fees, include either:
    • a copy of the Commissioners' Award showing the fees set by the judge, or
    • a copy of an order by the judge setting the fees.
  • Prepare a Form 132 to each Special Commissioner for payment. On Form 132:
    • Enter the appropriate Special Commissioner's (payee) name, address and PIN; and
    • Enter the project and parcel numbers, and "Commissioner's Fee" in blank (11) - Description.

Any variation in the names of Commissioners used requires an affirmation by the department that the person's name shown in the award and the person's name appearing differently on Form 132 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 132 for payment. The following subsection provides information required on the 132 for each situation.

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Situations and Required Information for Form 132

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:

  • Enter the appropriate county clerk's (payee) name, address, and PIN.
  • Enter the project and parcel numbers, the words "Filing fee," and the date the judgment was entered in the description blank (11).

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 on Form 132, 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. Make payment for these as described in succeeding paragraphs:

  • Enter the appropriate county clerk's (payee) name, address, and PIN in Form 132.
  • Enter the project and parcel numbers, the words "Filing Fee," and the date the judgment was entered in the description blank.
  • Show the date objections were filed.

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 the sheriff of the county in which the defendant resides, and payment to the sheriff for this service is authorized.

State law provides that any person competent to testify may serve the notice (Property Code, §21.016). The department 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 the department receives a request from another State to serve a notice to a Texas resident, the department may, at its discretion and taking into account its own particular workload, perform such service. If the department declines to serve notice, promptly return the request to the other State along with an explanation.

  • Enter the sheriff's (payee) name, address, and PIN.
  • Enter the project and parcel numbers, and the words "Serve notice of hearing" in the description blank.

Service of Notice of Hearing within the State. State law provides that any person competent to testify may serve the notice (Property Code, §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.

The department must obtain all notices required after the Hearing when requested by OAG.

Citation by Publication.

  • Enter the newspaper (payee) name, address, and PIN.
  • Enter the dates the citation was published, and the project and parcel numbers in the description blank.

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.

  • Enter the court reporter's (payee) name, address, and PIN.
  • In the description blank, show one amount for the original statement of facts and a separate amount for one or more copies, if copies have been requested by the State and are included in the payment request.
  • 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. Although 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.

Recording of Lis Pendens.

  • Enter the county clerk's (payee) name, address, and PIN.
  • Enter the project and parcel numbers, and "Recording Notice of Lis Pendens" in the description blank.

Recording of Judgments in the Deed Records. Prepare Form 132 when the county clerk will be paid separately for recording judgments in the deed records.

  • Enter the county clerk's (payee) name, address, and PIN.
  • Enter the project and parcel numbers, and "Recording Judgment in Deed Records" in the description blank.

Furnishing Certified Copies. Prepare the county clerk's billing using Form 132 when certified copies of papers (such as the Commissioners' Award or judgment) are required.

  • Enter the county clerk's (payee) name, address, and PIN.
  • Enter the project number, the parcel number, and "Certified Copies" in the description blank.
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