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determine in what part of the city wooden buildings shall not be erected --within the limits prescribed no person shall be permitted to erect such buildings; to prevent gunpowder, or other explosive material, kerosine oil, or other inflammable oils, being stored within the city limits, in such quantity as to endanger the safety of the adjacent property; to provide means for the protection and extinguishment of conflagrations, and for the regulation, maintenance and support of a fire department; to permit or forbid theatres, balls, or other public amusements, and to suppress the same whenever the preservation of order, tranquility or public safety may require; to close dram shops, drinking saloons, and other places where intoxicating liquors are sold whenever necessary or expedient; to define what shall be deemed nuisances in said city, and to abate them by summary proceedings; to provide a work house for vagabonds and disorderly persons who are unable to pay fines, and make regulations concerning the same; to regulate weights and measures in the city, affix penalties for violation, fix standards, etc.; also that the city council may provide, own and maintain water works for the use of the city and its inhabitants; to provide and keep a city prison; to make all needful and proper regulations concerning bakers, butchers, keepers of taverns, grog shops and other public houses, draymen, horse drivers, water carriers, omnibus drivers, hack drivers, and drivers of baggage wagons, and especially to preserve order and prevent noise and confusion in and about the several depots on the arrival and departure of railway trains; to prevent extortion by carriers of passengers or baggage, hacks, drays and all public conveyances, by establishing maximum rate of charges; to direct and control the laying and construction of railroad tracks, turnouts and switches, and to require that the[y] be constructed and laid so as to interfere as little as possible with the ordinary travel and use of streets; to require railroad companies to keep the streets through which they run in repair, and to light the same whenever deemed necessary; to construct and keep in repair bridges and crossings at the intersection of streets and avenues, and over all ditches, sewers and culverts on the line of the railway; to regulate the speed of engines and locomotives within said city; to control and regulate everything concerning street railways, and generally to make and establish all rules, regulations, by-laws and ordinances which may contribute to and promote the better administration of the affairs of said city, as well as for the maintenance of the peace, tranquility and safety of said city, and for the protection of persons and property of its inhabitants, the city council of the city of Houston are hereby empowered and authorized to take and condemn land and real estate in said city to the public use, viz: for streets, alleys and public highways for extending, straightening and widening those streets now in use; for public wharves and landing places; for steamers and other water crafts, and for public squares, parks and pleasure grounds. For the condemnation of any land or real estate, the following proceedings shall be had: The city attorney, or attorneys employed by said city for that purpose, shall file a petition in the district court of Harris county against the owner of the land or real estate sought to be condemned for any of the purposes aforesaid, setting forth: first, the name or names and residence of the owner or owners, if known, and if unknown, the same shall be stated; second, the description by metes and bounds of any actual survey, had for that purpose, of the land or real estate sought to be condemned; third, the purposes for which the same is proposed to be taken and applied; fourth, the supposed value of the property to be
condemed; fifth, the prayer that the same be condemned to the public use for the purposes stated, and upon the filing of such petition, like proceedings shall be had thereon as in other civil suits, and when personal service cannot be had by reason of the defendant being a non-resident or unknown, service by publication shall be made as provided in other cases in the district court,and upon trial the court shall proceed to render judgment, condemning the land to public use, upon the payment of the value thereof as assessed by the jury, and upon any suit being brought thereafter against the said corporation for such property so condemned, a copy of the judgment and an actual tender of the money in court shall be sufficient answer in bar of a recovery in any such suit. All costs of proceedings for the condemnation of land and real estate under this act shall be taxed against the plaintiff, including reasonable fees of the attorney which the court shall appoint to represent the defendant when cited by publication.
Sec. 24. That the council shall have power and authority to establish one or more markets and market places, and within reasonable hours, not later than ten o'clock daily, to prevent the sale of fresh meats, game, fresh fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables and such country produce as is usually sold in markets at any place in said city other than said markets and market places so established,and to collect market licenses and privileges; to rent and lease for such length of time as the city council may determine, not exceeding one year, stalls or stands in said market for the sale of the before-mentioned articles, and to regulate and fix the prices at which the said stands or stalls shall be rented, and to provide for prompt collection of rent of the same and to pay all expenses of collection thereof, and for properly caring for and keeping in repair the market building and for pavement of streets fronting on and adjacent thereto, and for insurance of the same and its contents, and such care, paving, insurance and general keeping of said market houses shall be paid for out of the revenues collected out of said market house.
Sec. 25. That the market and market privileges of said city may be let and farmed out annually to the highest bidder at public outery at the market house, after ten days notice of the time, place and terms shall have been published in one of the city papers, and two copies posted in conspicuous places in said market house. The city council shall, before the day of letting fix upon the minimum sum at which the market and market privileges may be leased for the ensuing year and publish the same in the public notices required to be given as herein prescribed, and all bids below the amount named shall be rejected. At least five days before the day advertised for the letting, the mayor shall cause to be prepared the contract required to be signed by the lessees, and the same shall not in any manner be changed or modified within the five days previous to the letting, and said contract so prepared shall be open at the mayor's office to the inspection of all parties who may desire to see it. A good bond and securities to be approved by the city council shall be required of the lessees, and new and additional securities may be required at any time under penalty of forfeiture of contract.
Sec. 26. That the city council may appropriate to such use and purposes as may be deemed advisable, such halls and rooms in the upper story of the market house as may not be necessary for the public use and to lease and rent the same, from time to time, in the discretion of the council.
Sec. 27. That the city council shall have power to construct wharves
on the banks of Buffalo bayou within the limits of the corporation, and make such other improvements as may be necessary for the better navigation of said bayou and for the convenience of landing vessels and their cargoes, and to levy contributions upon all vessels and their cargoes as may land at said wharves, and to demand and collect the same, to defray the expenses of such improvements and repairs.
Sec. 28. That whenever any steamboat or other craft shall sink in the Buffalo bayou above Harrisburg and the navigation be obstructed thereby, it shall be the duty of the mayor of the city of Houston to appoint three good and discreet commissioners to inspect and examine the same and its condition and immediately to report in writing their opinion, stating whether in their opinion the boat or craft sunk can be or is likely to be raised or removed within the space of ten days after their examination; and should they be of opinion that such boat or craft is not likely to be raised so as to open the navigation within twenty days from the time of their examination, then and in that case the mayor and aldermen of the city of Houston may order the removal of such boat or craft so sunk in any manner they shall deem proper, without incurring any penalty for the same.
Sec. 29. That said corporation of the city of Houston is hereby given full power and authority to take such steps to preserve and improve the navigation of the said Buffalo bayou above the town of Harrisburg as they may think proper; and for that purpose they are authorized to levy and collect a tax on all steamboats and other crafts running in said bayou to the city of Houston for the purpose of improving navigation thereof; provided, that the power in this section shall not be construed to give said corporation any jurisdiction or control over said Buffalo bayou or the banks thereof in any manner beyond or without the corporate limits of said city, except for the purpose of protecting or improving the navigation of said bayou, and shall not give said corporation jurisdiction or control to prevent or interfere with the construction of any railroad or other bridges by any company or person across said bayou in such manner as not to interfere with the navigation of said bayou.
Sec. 30. That the city council, by a vote of the majority of the whole number of aldermen taken by "yeas and nays," and entered upon their journal, shall have power to assess, license and tax hawkers, peddlers, auctioneers, theatrical and other exhibitions, shows and amusements, billiard tables, nine and ten pin alleys, alleys with any number of pins, public drays, wagons, omnibuses and carriages, grog shops, tippling houses and dram shops, beer saloons (whether for the sale of domestic beers or otherwise), and such other trades or occupations not especially mentioned herein, as may be taxed by the laws of the state; but no assessment or license tax levied under this section shall exceed one-half the amount levied by the state for the same period on such profession or occupation, and the same may be regulated, levied and collected in the same manner as said taxes are regulated and collected by the state.
Sec. 31. That the city council shall have power, by ordinance, to annually levy, assess and collect taxes not exceeding two per cent. ad valorem upon all real and personal estate and property in the city, not exempt from taxation, and to determine when taxes shall be paid by corporations, and when by individual corporators, and to levy and collect from each male inhabitant of the city, over the age of twenty-one years, an annual poll tax of one dollar. All taxes on real estate shall be a lien
and charge upon the property, and it may be subjected to the payment of the same.
Sec. 32. That the license tax shall be collected by the assessor and -collector of taxes, and shall be paid to that officer in current funds of the United States, by each and every person or firm owning such license and before engaging in any trade, profession, business calling, avocation or occupation subject to such tax, taking his receipt therefor, which receipt shall entitle him, her or them, to a corresponding license, to be issued by the mayor, and if any person shall engage in any business, calling, avocation or occupation, which, by an ordinance of said city, is subject to a license tax, without first having obtained such license, he, she or they shall be liable to arrest and imprisonment and a fine of ten dollars for each and every day such violation of said ordinance may continue; and this section shall apply to all persons owing license and failing to pay the same; and the city council may make such further regulations as it deems necessary to enforce the provisions of this section and punish the violation thereof.
Sec. 33. That the city council may and shall have full power to provide by ordinance for the prompt collection of all taxes levied, assessed and due, or becoming due to said city, and to that end may and shall make such rules and regulations and pass such ordinances as it shall deem necessary to the levying, laying, imposing, assessing and collecting of any of said taxes, and to regulate the mode and manner of making out tax-lists and inventories, and the appraisement of property therein; and to prescribe the oath that shall be administered to each person on such rendition of property, and to prescribe how and when property shall thus be rendered, and to fix the duties and define the powers of the assessor and collector of taxes, and adopt such measures as they may deem advisable to secure the assessment of all property in the limits of the city, and collect the taxes thereupon in current money of the United States, or otherwise, as herein provided, and may, by ordinance, provide that any person, firm or corporation having or controlling property in said city, subject to taxation, and failing and refusing to render a list, inventory and appraisement thereof, verified as may be required by any ordinance of said city, shall be liable to fine and imprisonment; that the city council shall appoint annually from its own members, at such time as it may determine, three appraisers, who shall be styled the board of appraisement, and whenever the party rendering the property for assessment and the assessor and collector cannot agree in the valuation of such property it shall be referred to said board, and their action in appraising the same shall be final; provided, that at the meeting of said board the owner of the property or party rendering the same shall have an opportunity of being heard. Said board shall also appraise all property assessed as unknown or unrendered, and shall receive such reasonable compensation for the services as the city council shall allow. The city council may, if it sees proper, adopt, as circumstances will permit, the same mode and manner of assessing and collecting taxes as may be prescribed by law for assessing [and] collecting state taxes; and all taxes due the city may be collected by an action of debt in any court having jurisdiction. The assessment rolls shall be taken as prima facie evidence of the statement made therein, and the city shall have the equal right to become the purchaser at all sales of property for taxes due it, made under judgments or otherwise, Nothing but current money of the United States shall be collected or received in payment of taxes and
licenses due or hereafter assessed, and scrip which may be issued for pavement of streets and constructing sidewalks, and for city waterworks, which shall express upon its face the purpose for which it is issued, and coupons and scrip made receivable for taxes on the face thereof shall be receivable for all taxes except the bond tax.
Sec. 34. That the said corporation shall not be liable to any person for damages for injuries caused from streets, ways, crossings, bridges or sidewalks being out of repair from gross negligence of said corporation. unless the same shall have remained so for ten days after special notice in writing given to the mayor or street commissioner.
Sec. 35. That it shall not be necessary in any action, suit or proceeding in which the mayor, aldermen [or] inhabitants of the city of Houston shall be a party that any bond or security shall be required; but all actions, suits or proceedings shall be conducted as if such bond or security had been given. The property, real and personal, belonging to the city, shall not be liable to be sold under any writ of execution, nor shall the funds belonging to the city in the hands of any person, be liable to garnishment, nor shall the city or any of its officers or agents be required to answer to any writ of garnishment.
Sec. 36. That all cemetery lots which have been or may hereafter be laid out by said city or in any private cemetery grounds, together with all monuments or railings upon the same, shall with all their appurtenances forever be exempt from taxes, executions, attachments or forced sale, and the property of all churches, masons, odd fellows, or other chariitable associations, used by them for places of meeting, both real and personal, bonds of the United States and bonds of the city of Houston, shall not be subject to tax under this act.
Sec. 37. That no person shall be an incompetent judge, justice, witness or juror by reason of his being an inhabitant or freeholder in the city of Houston, in any action or proceeding in which said city may be a party interested, and all officers of said city shall be exempt from jury service while holding office.
Sec. 38. That the city council shall annually appoint, by ballot, one person from each ward of the city who, together with the mayor as president thereof, shall constitute a board of health of the city. The city council may appoint a health physician and as many health inspectors as they may deem necessary, and shall prescribe by ordinance the powers and duties of the board and its members; and the secretary of the city council shall be clerk of the board of health and shall keep a record of their proceedings.
Sec. 39. That the city council shall have power to take such measures as they deem effectual, to prevent the entrance of any pestilential, contagious or infectious diseases into the city, to stop, detain and examine for that purpose any person coming from any place infected or believed to be infected with such diseases; to establish, maintain and regulate pest houses or hospitals within the city, or not exceeding five miles from its bounds; to cause any person who shall be suspected of being infected with any disease to be sent to such pest house or hospital; to remove from the city or destroy any furniture, wearing apparel or property of any kind which shall be suspected of being tainted or infected with pestilence; to prevent persons from infected places coming into the city of Houston, and to adopt any sanitary measures whereby the health of the city may be protected and improved; but said corporation shall not have power or authority to prevent railroad trains and passengers therein.