Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

November 4, 2013

Tuesday’s vote decides local and state issues

Mineral Wells Index

— From staff reports

If you are one of the 2,004 who didn’t take advantage of the two-week early voting period, you have one more chance to cast a ballot in Tuesday’s uniform election at one of 17 polls throughout Palo Pinto County, open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Palo Pinto County voters will help decide the fates of the following:

• Mineral Wells ISD’s proposed $25-million bond to fully replace the 1955 Lamar Elementary School building, improve security at all campuses and replace the high school track foundation, which has succumbed to shifting ground, and surface.

• Palo Pinto Hospital District’s Place 2 contested race, in which newcomer Matthew Baker is challenging incumbent James “J.C.” Colton. Tim Hopkins (Place 1) and Lori Baker-Boyd (Place 3) are also on the ballot, but are uncontested in their elections.

• Graford ISD’s proposed $7.5 million bond to cover school facilities and school buses.

• Nine Texas Constitutional amendments (see information below).

What’s now needed at the polls

A voter will be required to show one of the following forms of photo identification at the polling location before casting a vote:

• Texas drivers license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

• Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS.

• Texas personal identification card issued by DPS.

• Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS.

• United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph.

• United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph.

• United States passport.

The photo ID must be current or expired no more than 60 days. Other photo IDs, including student IDs and employment IDs, cannot be accepted at the polls.

Graford ISD

The Graford ISD board of trustees is asking voters in the northern part of the county to approve a $7.5-million bond to cover school facilities and school buses. This includes the expansion/renovation of buildings and the cost of building an athletic complex, featuring new baseball and softball fields, a track and new locker rooms.

Provided the bond passes, the district would add a new, secure entrance to the high school building, a new bus barn and a new kitchen for the cafeteria, using the current kitchen for a culinary arts classroom. The district is hoping to add a new science lab at the high school and to convert the existing science lab for the elementary school, according to GISD Superintendent Dennis Holt.

The bond money would also be used to build an athletic complex.

Graford does not have a track, and currently it leases fields for high school softball and baseball games from the local youth association.

Holt said the bond funds would also be used to build two locker rooms (in back of the gym where the old agriculture/science rooms were), the expansion of the current weight room and extra storage.

Additionally, it would address roofs and air conditioning.

If the GISD bond passes, property taxes would rise somewhere between 5.5 cents to 6.5 cents per $100 taxable property value. For instance, a homeowner owning a house appraised at $100,000 would pay roughly $48 to $54 annually in additional property taxes.

Statewide Constitutional Amendments

To help Texas voters cast an informed ballot, the nonpartisan League of Women Voters -Texas Education Fund issued information on the nine amendments facing Texans.

The propositions being voted on this fall are as follows:

• Proposition 1 – The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed in action.

• Proposition 2 – The constitutional amendment eliminating an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund, neither of which is operational.

• Proposition 3 – The constitutional amendment to authorize a political subdivision of this state to extend the number of days that aircraft parts that are exempt from ad valorem taxation due to their location in this state for a temporary period may be located in this state for purposes of qualifying for the tax exemption.

• Proposition 4 – The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization.

• Proposition 5 – The constitutional amendment to authorize the making of a reverse mortgage loan for the purchase of homestead property and to amend lender disclosures and other requirements in connection with a reverse mortgage loan.

• Proposition 6 – The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas to assist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan to ensure the availability of adequate water resources.

• Proposition 7 – The constitutional amendment authorizing a home-rule municipality to provide in its charter the procedure to fill a vacancy on its governing body for which the unexpired term is 12 months or less.

• Proposition 8 – The constitutional amendment repealing Section 7, Article IX, Texas Constitution, which relates to the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County.

• Proposition 9 – The constitutional amendment relating to expanding the types of sanctions that may be assessed against a judge or justice following a formal proceeding instituted by the State Commission on Judicial Contact.

The state League of Women Voters offers two websites – www.lwvtexas.org and  www.VOTE411.org – with information on the Texas Constitutional Amendment Election. These guides include ballot language, an explanation and balanced arguments for and against each proposition, plus helpful information on the new photo ID requirement and other aspects of voting are available in English and Spanish.

Print copies will be available through many libraries and distribution by local Leagues. A Constitutional Amendment page on  www.lwvtexas.org provides additional information on the constitutional amendment process and proposals considered by the 2013 Texas Legislature.

For more information, visit  www.VoteTexas.gov, or contact Palo Pinto County election officials at 940-659-1212.

The League of Women Voters of Texas Education Fund contributed to this article.