By Chris Edwards
TYLER COUNTY – For Tyler County residents, the early voting period has been underway for the Saturday, May 7 election.
According to deputy county clerk Roxanne Hart, 813 voters took advantage of the early voting period for this election, at press time.
The period began April 25 and ended on Tuesday, May 3. The May 7 election is scheduled across the state for constitutional amendments, as well as mayoral, city council and school board elections.
For this election, voters have three items on the ballot. Along with two proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot, which voters will vote “for” or “against,” there are two other items up for a vote, a bond election for Woodville ISD and a proposed sales tax to benefit the county’s Emergency Service District #5.
Voters serviced by the Woodville Independent School District have an opportunity to make their voices heard on a $47,850,000 bond package for district-wide improvements.
The recommendation to go out for a bond election came after a study conducted by a district facilities task force, comprised of Woodville residents, businesspeople and WISD staff members.
Among the scope of improvements that would be covered by the bond, if approved by voters, are a new Pre-K to fifth grade elementary school building and additions to the Career and Technical Education Center.
The ballot item pertaining to ESD #5 reads on the ballot as “adoption of a local sales and use tax in Tyler County Emergency Service District #5 at a rate not to exceed one and one-half percent in any location in the district.”
Dam B is the only area in the county without a 8.25% sales tax. At present, the sales tax rate is 6.75% in Dam B.
The sales tax would benefit the Dam B Volunteer Fire Department, if approved, and will not affect county tax levies in any way.
For the constitutional amendment proposals, which were approved by a two-thirds vote of the Texas Legislature during its recent special sessions, the descriptions on the ballot are as follows:
Proposition Number 1 (SJR 2) SJR 2 proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of property taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled in order to reflect any statutory reduction in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the person’s homestead from the preceding tax year.
The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled to reflect any statutory reduction from the preceding tax year in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the homestead.”
Proposition Number 2 (SJR 2) SJR 2 proposes a constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from property taxes for public school purposes from $25,000 to $40,000.
The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $25,000 to $40,000.”
On May 24, voters will have the opportunity to seal the deal on several races that went to runoffs in the Republican primaries.
In the countywide races, several, including the race for county judge, are on the ballot.
Melissa Riley is facing Milton Powers in the runoff. The winner of the primary will face Democratic challenger Wesley Whitman in the November general election.
The race for county treasurer has challenger Maegan Rains Odom facing incumbent Leann Monk in the primary runoff. That race is unopposed by a Democrat for the general election.
Incumbent Pct. 2 commissioner Stevan Sturrock is facing challenger Doug Hughes on the May 24 ballot. One more county race, that of Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace, went to the runoff, with incumbent Jim Moore facing challenger Henry Sawyer, Jr.
In statewide elections, the office of Attorney General; General Land Office Commissioner and Railroad Commissioner went to runoffs.
George P. Bush, who currently serves as the state’s land commissioner, is facing incumbent Ken Paxton for the GOP Attorney General primary runoff.
Dawn Buckingham and Tim Westley are facing each other for the GLO Commissioner primary, and incumbent railroad commissioner Wayne Christian is facing Sarah Stogner in the primary for that office.