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Tyler County News - Breakout

Annual Health Fair Friday

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Health Fair Graphic

WOODVILLE – The Tyler County Hospital will host its annual health fair on May 6 at the LVN School lawn, located off of Kelley Blvd. in Woodville. The event will last from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

The event will offer health screening, including blood pressure testing, and comprehensive metabolic profile testing. The LifeShare van will be set up for blood donors, as well. There will be vendor booths, which will have giveaways and a gift basket. 

The lab testing available includes a battery of 13 different tests, including lipid profiles and TSH testing for women and PSA testing for men. These tests can be had for $25.

If anyone needs transportation to the event, the Lions Club has offered to assist. Lion Sarah Stephens can be reached at 409-382-2045 if anyone is in need of a ride.

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Early voting ends; runoff election May 24

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Early Voting GraphicBy Chris Edwards
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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. 

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Law enforcement looking for burglars

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burglar graphicBy Chris Edwards
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COLMESNEIL – Law enforcement is looking to the public for help in solving a recent burglary.

On the early morning of Saturday, April 9, two suspects smashed their way into Murray’s Quick Stop in Colmesneil and absconded with the cash register.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, the suspects got away with some cash, but left behind video evidence.

Surveillance footage at the store showed their car, which is a silver, late-model Nissan Altima. What is notable about the car, according to a Crime Stoppers bulletin, is that it is missing its front bumper and grill, which, according to the bulletin, will make it easy to spot.

The two suspects, who are a white male and a white female, were wearing hoodies in the surveillance footage.

The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office has posted the video footage on its Facebook page.

If anyone can identify the burglars, they can submit a tip at 639TIPS.com, or tipsters can use the Crime Stoppers app, or call (936) 639-TIPS. Tips and calls directly to Crime Stoppers are anonymous and reward eligible.

With Crime Stoppers, the entire process, from tip to reward, is handled without identifying the tipster. 

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County approves several bids in special meeting

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CommCourtLogoBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – In a special-called meeting of the Tyler County Commissioners Court on Monday morning, the commissioners tackled a short agenda mostly consisting of opening and awarding bids for various services.

The commissioners voted to open all of the bids prior to considering which firms to award services to. The three agenda items for bids included bids for petroleum products for the county; road materials and hauling.

One bid was received for petroleum products, from Gardner Oil, and was approved. For road materials, the county approved all the bids received, because, as County Auditor Jackie Skinner explained, it was more cost effective for the county to use firms on the south end of the county for work in that region, and firms in the north end, likewise. For the bid for hauling materials, the commissioners voted the same way.

Another agenda item was to award a bid for the grant administration for a FEMA-funded drainage project for Colmesneil ISD.

Skinner said that only one bid was received, from Lankford Community Management Services, and said their proposal was “very reasonable.”

The commissioners approved Lankford as the administrator on the project, with their costs coming in at $125 per hour, and their services not to exceed 5% of the project’s cost. 

The commissioners also approved an item for amending artwork or wall decorations for the Tyler County Courthouse.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock spoke about the item and said there needed to be an amendment made to state the decorations need to include a note that they can include sitting elected officials. 

This item was approved to be in compliance with the Tyler County Historical Commission’s requirements for the restored courthouse’s appearance and décor.

There is another special-called meeting of the commissioners court scheduled for Friday, April 29, at 9 a.m. Among the three items for consideration is the Lakeland Ranch Section Two plat application.

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Updated property tax info available

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Property TaxWOODVILLE — New and updated property tax information has been compiled by the Tyler County Appraisal District and is available now to taxpayers. This property tax information is current and covers a wide range of topics, such as taxpayer remedies, exemptions and appraisals, and has information for select groups, such as disabled veterans and persons age 65 or older.

“Whether you are a homeowner, business owner, disabled veteran or taxpayer, it’s important you know your rights concerning the property tax laws.” said David Luther, Chief Appraiser of the Tyler County Appraisal District. “You can contact us about these and other property tax issues with full confidence that we will provide you the most complete, accurate and up-to-date information available.”

This includes information about the following programs.

•Property Tax Exemptions for Disabled Veterans - The law provides partial exemptions for any property owned by disabled veterans or surviving spouses and surviving children of deceased disabled veterans. Another partial exemption is for homesteads donated to disabled veterans by charitable organizations at no cost or not more than 50 percent of the good faith estimate of the homestead’s market value to disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. The exemption amount is determined according to percentage of service-connected disability. The law also provides a 100 percent homestead exemption for 100 percent disabled veterans and their surviving spouses and surviving spouses of U.S. armed service members killed or fatally injured in the line of duty. A homestead exemption is available only for property owned, used, and resided in by the taxpayer.

•Property Tax Exemptions – Non-profit organizations that meet statutory requirements may seek property tax exemptions and must apply to their local appraisal district by a specific date. Businesses that receive tax abatements granted by taxing units; ship inventory out of Texas that may be eligible for the freeport exemption; store certain goods in transit in warehouses that are moved within 175 days; construct, install or acquire pollution control property; own and operate energy storage systems; convert landfill-generated gas; or store offshore drilling equipment while not in use may also be eligible for statutory exemptions.

•Rendering Taxable Property - If a business owns tangible personal property that is used to produce income, the business must file a rendition with its local appraisal district by a specified date. Personal property includes inventory and equipment used by a business. Owners do not have to render exempt property such as church property or an agriculture producer’s equipment used for farming.

•Appraisal Notices – Normally, taxpayers receive a notice of appraised value from the appropriate local appraisal district. The city, county, school districts and other local taxing units use the appraisal district’s value to set property taxes for the coming year.

•Property Taxpayer Remedies – This Comptroller publication explains in detail how to protest a property appraisal, what issues the county appraisal review board (ARB) can consider and what to expect during a protest hearing. The publication also discusses the option to request limited binding arbitration to compel the ARB or chief appraiser to comply with a procedural requirement and the options of taking a taxpayer’s case to district court, the State Office of Administrative Hearings or binding arbitration if the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the outcome of the ARB hearing.

•Homestead Exemptions – A homestead is generally defined as the home and land used as the owner’s principal residence on Jan. 1 of the tax year. A homestead exemption reduces the appraised value of the home and, as a result, lowers property taxes. Applications are submitted to the appropriate local appraisal district. Structures not used as the owner’s residence, like an additional residential or business structure is ineligible for the exemption.

•Productivity Appraisal – Property owners who use land for timberland production, agricultural purposes or wildlife management can be granted property tax relief on their land. They may apply to their local appraisal district for an agricultural appraisal which may result in a lower appraisal of the land based on production, versus market value.

•Residence Homestead Tax Deferral - Texas homeowners may postpone paying the currently delinquent property taxes due on the appreciating value of their homes by filing a tax deferral affidavit at their local county appraisal district. This tax relief allows homeowners to pay the property taxes on 105 percent of the preceding year’s appraised value of their homestead, plus the taxes on any new improvements to the homestead. A deferral postpones the remaining taxes, with interest accruing at 8 percent per year but does not cancel them.

•Property Tax Deferral for Persons Age 65 or Older or Disabled or Disabled Veteran Homeowners – Texans who are age 65 or older or disabled, as defined by law, or who qualify for a disabled veteran exemption may postpone paying current and delinquent property taxes on their homes by signing a tax deferral affidavit. Once the affidavit is on file, taxes are deferred, but not cancelled, as long as the owner continues to own and live in the home. Interest continues to accrue at 5 percent per year on the unpaid taxes. You may obtain a deferral affidavit at the appraisal district.

•Notice of Availability of Electronic Communication – In appraisal districts located in counties with a population of more than 200,000 or that have authorized electronic communications, and that have implemented a system that allows such communications, chief appraisers and ARBs may communicate electronically through email or other media with property owners or their designated representatives. Written agreements are required for notices and other documents to be delivered electronically instead of mailing.

•Protesting Property Appraisal Values – Property owners who disagree with the appraisal district’s appraisal of their property for local taxes or for any other action that adversely affects them may protest their property value to the appraisal district’s ARB.

•Informal Meetings – Property can request an informal meeting with appraisal district staff to try and resolve their disputes prior to attending ARB hearings.

For more information about these programs, contact the Tyler County Appraisal District at (409) 283-3736, in the office located at 806 W Bluff St in Woodville, or at the District’s website at www.tylercad.net. Some information is also available on the Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division’s website at www.comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/.          

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