By Tony Farkas
Two constitutional amendments dealing with property taxes will be on the ballot of the May 7 election, along with any contested city and school board races for each county.
Early voting ended May 3; on election day, polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those places include:
• Elections Administration Building, 51 E. Pine Ave., Coldspring
•Shepherd Community Center, 10251 State Hwy 150, Shepherd
• Evergreen Community Center, 7550 State Hwy 150 W, Coldspring
• Bear Creek VFD, 11550 FM 1725, Cleveland
•County Precinct 4 Annex, 221 Boat Launch Road, Point Blank
• Oakhurst Fire Department, 990 US Hwy 190, Oakhurst
• New Hope Baptist Church, 13200 FM 2025, Cleveland
Of the amendments, Proposition 1 will benefit individuals with an over-65 or disabled exemption on their property.
According to information released by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, if an individual currently has an over-65/disabled exemption on their home, the proposal will provide a reduction on school district property taxes.
There are 1.8 million over-65 exemptions and 180,000 disabled exemptions in the state; on average these households will see a $110 reduction the first year and $125 reduction in the second year, and the reduction will continue to grow each year.
This amendment will become effective as of January 1, 2023, if it passes.
Proposition 2 will increase the homestead exemption by $15,000.
If this amendment passes the state homestead exemption on home values for school district taxes will increase from $25,000 to $40,000. On average, the 5.67 million homesteads in Texas will see a $175 savings in their school district tax bill at the current average statewide school property tax rate.
This amendment will be effective as of January 1, 2022, if it passes, so homeowners will see the savings when they receive their property tax bill this fall.
Other races in San Jacinto County include:
•On the ballot in the Cleveland ISD, LaDerrington Baldwin is facing off against incumbent Willie Carter for the Cleveland ISD Board of Trustees Position 4; for Position 5, Sharica Lewis is running against incumbent Amanda Sandoval Brooks.
•On the ballot in the Willis ISD, the district is looking to issue $143,045,000 in bonds for school improvements, $62,565,000 in bonds for improvements to the athletic stadium, and $19,390,000 for a natatorium.
•Coldspring has city and school board elections on its ballots; John Benestante is running against incumbent mayor Pat Eversole, while Dianne Griffith us running unopposed for District 2 and Nichole Gatewood is running unopposed for District 4.
For COCISD, incumbent Tony L. Sewell is running against Roosevelt Joseph for Position 3, and incumbent Berlin Bradford is running unopposed.
For those living in the district but outside the city limits, that ballot will include only the school board elections.
Right on the heels of the Saturday vote, a runoff election for state offices will be held May 24.
The races on that ballot include state offices only.
For those in the Democratic party, the ballot contains four races: Michelle Beckley and Mike Collier for lieutenant governor; Rochelle Mercedes Garza and Joe Jaworski for Attorney General; Angel Luis Vega and Janet T. Dudding for Comptroller of Public Accounts; and Sandragrace Martinez and Jay Kleberg for Commissioner of the General Land Office.
For Republicans, those races include: George P. Bush and Ken Paxton for Attorney General; Tim Westley and Dawn Buckingham for Commissioner of the General Land Office; and Sarah Stogner and Wayne Christian for Railroad Commissioner.
Early voting runs from May 16-20, and ballots can be cast from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Elections Administration Building in Coldspring.
On May 24, polls will be located at the Elections Administration Building, Shepherd Community Center, Evergreen Community Center in Coldspring, and County Precinct 4 Annex in Point Blank.