The Texas secretary of state’s office will distribute to counties funds appropriated by the Texas Legislature to help offset unexpected costs of the May constitutional amendment election, but the Brown County Elections Office had not been notified of the amount on Tuesday.
“We were notified by e-mail Monday that the funds would be coming, but the exact amount is being sent to us by mail,” Suzy Young, county election administrator, said Tuesday. “We’re not going to get all of the expense, but it would be nice to get at least $8,000. My budget is shot.”
Young said the additional expenses to the county elections office to hold the election ran approximately $18,000, a figure she has previously turned into the state. Funding to counties will be based on the number of registered voters.
“These one-time funds will help counties cover costs associated with a statewide election that counties did not budget for,” Secretary of State Phil Wilson said Monday. “I am pleased that the legislature felt it was appropriate to lessen the financial burden this election placed on our county officials.”
House Bill 556 gives the secretary of state authority to administer and distribute state funds to reimburse political subdivisions for expenses incurred in conducting a statewide special election. The legislature budgeted $5 million to the secretary of state which will be distributed based upon the number of registered voters in each county.
The legislature ordered the election early this year, after budgets for counties had already been adopted. The statewide election was called for a day when many cities and school districts were also holding council and board elections, and several contracted with the county office to hold them. However, those expenses were shared by the local entities, and the state funds are designated to assist only the counties with costs of the constitutional amendment election.
The election was called to propose to voters a provision that extends school property tax reductions on homesteads approved in a 2006 special session after that reduction was not extended to the elderly and disabled in the 2006 and 2007 school years.