Texas voters — a few of them, of least — will be heading to the polls today to cast ballots on 16 proposed amendments to the state constitution.
A turnout of 9.5 percent of the state’s registered voters was forecast by Texas Secretary of State Phil Wilson, although the Brownwood native said he hoped the voters would “prove him wrong.”
It’s the first election to be held since Wilson’s appointment to office July 1 by Gov. Rick Perry.
Meanwhile, voters in the Zephyr Independent School District will also be handed a ballot to decide on a $4.35 million bond issue.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had some major construction,” Superintendent David Whisenhunt said. “The school board thinks this might be the right time to do something like this.”
The bond package is divided into four phases, Whisenhunt said, with construction of the third and fourth phases dependent on availability of funds following completion of the first two.
Phase One would build a new football field and track, and Phase Two involves construction of a new wastewater treatment plant and water displacement plant. Those facilities would be built on the site of the current football field after the new sports facility is completed.
The third phase would build a new physical education complex with a gym, staff offices, classrooms and technology labs. Also in the plans are lighted tennis courts, lighted outdoor basketball courts and a new children’s playground that would also be available for community fitness and family outdoor recreation.
The fourth phase would build a new cafetorium featuring cafeteria facilities and an auditorium with a stage where one-act plays, school events like graduation and community functions could be held.
In an informational handout prepared by the district, school officials reminded voters that taxpayers who are age 65 and over or who are disabled can have their school property taxes capped by filing an application at the Brown County Appraisal District. So any increase in school taxes will not affect them.
The total property tax rate would increase to $1.49 per $100 valuation in the 2008-09 school year if the bonds are approved by voters, which is 19.6 cents higher than the rate was last year.
That would include $1.04 for operations and 45 cents for debt. The current tax rate is $1.07, with $1.04 for operations and 3 cents for debt.
Last year’s total tax was $1.2942. The decrease this year reflects the drop mandated by the Texas Legislature.
The district said the owner of a home valued at $100,000 before exemptions, such as the automatic $15,000 homestead exemption, is being billed $909.50 a year for school taxes in 2007-08. If the bond issue is approved, taxes would increase to $1,226.50 a year, an increase of $29.75 a month or less than a dollar a day.
“The district will make every effort to obtain state facilities funding,” Whisenhunt said.
Calculations were made based on current laws, and that could change in the next legislature.
Voting locations will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. today.
Voting locations open from 7 to 7
Here are the voting locations for Brown County in today’s elections:
Precinct 101, 105, 113 — Southside Baptist Church, 1219 Indian Creek Rd., Brownwood
Precinct 109 — Brookesmith High School, FM 586, Brookesmith
Precinct 202, 204 — City Coliseum Annex, 110 S. Greenleaf, Brownwood
Precinct 212 — May School, 100 Comanche, May
Precinct 214, 215 — Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Holder
Precinct 303 — East Elementary, 2700 Vincent St.,Brownwood
Precinct 306, 316, 318 — Early Lions Club, Highway 84, Early
Precinct 307 — Blanket Lions Club, 718 Main St., Blanket
Precinct 308 — Zephyr Community Center, Highway 84, Zephyr
Precinct 410 — Bangs Community Center, 406 Spencer, Bangs
Precinct 411 — Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, 1806 Coggin Ave., Brownwood
Precinct 417 — 4-H Center, FM 3021, Brownwood