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Important Upcoming Election Information

posted Oct 18, 2011, 8:21 AM by Rebecca Baker   [ updated Oct 18, 2011, 8:21 AM ]

October 18, 2011

Dear Castle Hills PTA members:

October 24 begins early voting for the November 8, 2011 election.  Castle Hills City Hall is not an Early Voting location this time around.   Our closest sites would be Shavano Park City Hall, Lions Field, Cody Library, or Olmos Basin Golf Club House. Click here for a complete list of locations and times:  http://elections.bexar.org/PDF/EV%20CALENDAR%20NOV%202011.pdf The best way to ensure that our children our engaged in their community some day is to provide the example.  Please take the time to vote and make sure your children know you made it a priority.

 In addition to the NEISD bond election, Bexar Met customers will be able to vote on dissolution, all of us will elect two San Antonio River Authority directors, and there will be 10 constitutional amendments to consider.  You can see a sample ballot for your precinct by putting in your address here:  http://apps.bexar.org/cfdocs/electionspublic/Where2Vote.cfm?pr=ev.   

 It’s a lot to wade through …  So, I’ve drafted a summary of the ballot items.  This is my analysis (attempting to be objective), but not the PTA’s, designed only to give a baseline summary of the issues. 

 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

No.

Proposition

Pros

Cons

Prop 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 100 percent or totally disabled veteran.

Extends the tax exemption that disabled veterans already receive to their widows / widowers;  without this exemption, the tax exemption expires on the veteran’s death and the surviving spouse must begin paying it.

Less revenue for the state

Prop 2

The constitutional amendment providing for the  issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount

not to exceed $6 billion at any time outstanding

The Water Development Board loans its money out to (generally small) Texas communities in a revolving fund format, making revenue available where the bond market would not.

These bonds would be general obligation bonds of the state

Prop 3

The constitutional amendment providing for the  issuance of general obligation bonds of the State of Texas to finance educational loans to students.

There is a shortage of affordable, available money for college tuition as we have seen more and more grants at the state and federal levels cut.  This amendment would create a revolving fund for education loans.

These bonds would be general obligation bonds of the state

Prop 4

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit a county to issue bonds or

notes to finance the development or redevelopment of an unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted area and to pledge for

repayment of the bonds or notes increases in ad valorem taxes imposed by the county on property in the area. The amendment does not provide authority for increasing ad valorem tax rates.

Allows counties to establish tax increment finance zones (an economic development tool) just like cities can do.  Tax Increment Finance Zones do not increase taxes, they merely direct a portion of taxes to a project (typically street or drainage improvements).

Some people do not believe in any developer incentives

Prop 5

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to allow cities or counties to enter into interlocal contracts with other cities or counties without the imposition of a tax or the provision of a sinking fund.

Allows cities and counties to enter into interlocal contracts with other cities and counties without having to assess an ad valorem tax and set aside a specified amount of funds for the payment of costs under the interlocal contract.

 

This would leave discretion/uncertainty about payment of obligations.

Prop 6

The constitutional amendment clarifying references to the permanent school fund, allowing the General Land Office to distribute revenue from permanent school fund land or other properties to the available school fund to provide additional funding for public education, and providing for an increase in the market value of the permanent school fund for the purpose of allowing increased distributions

from the available school fund.

Allows an increase the amount of principal that is available for withdrawal from the permanent school fund each year  by using alternative market calculations.  The permanent school fund is a source of revenue for ISD operations

Allows an increase the amount of principal that is available for withdrawal from the permanent school fund each year. 

Prop 7

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities.

Appears to address a specific need in El Paso that still requires legislative action as well as county action.

?

Prop 8

The constitutional amendment providing for the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of open-space land devoted to water-stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity.

Allows Texans using agricultural exemptions more tools to manage their property by encouraging water quality improvement projects.

 

Less revenue for the state

Prop 9

The constitutional amendment authorizing the governor to grant a pardon to a person who successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication community supervision.

Allows the governor, on the written recommendation and advice of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, to grant a pardon, reprieve, or commutation of punishment to a person who successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication community supervision

Increases the potential for pardons

Prop 10

The constitutional amendment to change the length of the unexpired term that causes the automatic resignation of certain elected county or district officeholders if they become candidates for another office.

Revises the "resign to run" provision in Texas law, extending the length of time elected officials may serve in office once they announce their candidacy for another office. Some say this is to address the filing deadline that was bumped to December, from January. Under this provision, elected officials may announce plans to run for a different office one year and one month -- rather than just one year, as the law currently states, before their term ends -- without having to resign their post.

Extends the grace period under the “resign to run” provision

 

SAN ANTONIO RIVER AUTHORITY

Hector R. Morales

Arthur M. Thomas IV

Sally Buchanan

Rhett Smith

William Davidson

Henrietta "Keta" Flores LaGrange

Roger V. Gary

Michael "Commander" Idrogo

Voters can select either one or two names for the River Authority. The incumbents are Hector Morales and Sally Buchanan. 

 

SARA has done a great job with the river improvement projects (worth a trip if you haven’t been down there) and seems to do its job well without scandal or controversy.

 

Other than the incumbents, I do not know any of the other candidates well enough to comment. 

 

BEXAR MET DISSOLUTION

The dissolution of the Bexar Metropolitan Water District and the transfer of all the district's assets, obligations, and duties to the water utility owned by the municipality with the largest population in the area served by the district.

Bexar Met customers (includes the City of Castle Hills and San Antonio residents in Oak Glen Park) will vote on whether or not to dissolve Bexar Met and elect SAWS as their water purveyor.

 

A vote “for” is a vote for dissolving Bexar Met.

 

A vote “against” is vote to keep Bexar Met.

Pros:  Bexar Met has suffered a series of scandals in the past few years that have brought a spot light on the higher prices of water, lack of connectivity of the system, lack of reserves for maintenance, etc. 

 

Cons:  The Bexar Met board is an elected body (SAWS is appointed) and some people suggest that voters can change the problems with the system at the ballot box.  Bexar Met representatives allege that the election is about SAWS accessing Bexar Met’s more diverse water resources.

 NEISD BOND ISSUE

THE ISSUANCE OF NORTH EAST INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT SCHOOL BUILDING BONDS NOT TO EXCEED $399,410,000 FOR THE PURPOSES OF DESIGNING, CONSTRUCTING, RENOVATING, ACQUIRING, AND EQUIPPING SCHOOL FACILITIES IN THE DISTRICT AND THE PURCHASE OF NEW SCHOOL BUSES, WITH PRIORITY GIVEN TO THE CONSTRUCTION, RENOVATION, IMPROVEMENT, EXPANSION, AND EQUIPMENT OF ONE MIDDLE SCHOOL, CLASSROOM AND INSTRUCTIONAL FACILITY ADDITIONS AT VARIOUS ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, VARIOUS MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM ADDITIONS AND ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINE ARTS FACILITIES, CONSTRUCTING, RENOVATING, UPGRADING, AND IMPROVING FACILITIES AT DISTRICT CAMPUSES (INCLUDING PORTABLE BUILDING REPLACEMENTS AND UPGRADES), CONSTRUCT NEW ATHLETIC FACILITIES AND RENOVATE EXISTING ATHLETIC FACILITIES,

CONCESSION FACILITIES, AND BATHROOM FACILITIES, CONSTRUCT NEW JUNIOR ROTC FACILITIES AT VARIOUS HIGH SCHOOLS, DISTRICT-WIDE TECHNOLOGY AND SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS, AND THE PURCHASE OF NEW SCHOOL BUSES, AND THE LEVYING OF A TAX IN

PAYMENT THEREOF.

Almost $400 million for new facilities, technology, and buses, including the following which impacts our area directly:

 

Nimitz campus upgrade (replace 7 portable buildings), includes 14 classrooms, athletic facility replacement, administration and fine arts addition ($28,500,000)

 

Eisenhower MS Classroom Addition (Replace 7 Portable Buildings), Includes 14 Classrooms, New Competition Gym, Athletic Offices, Weight Room, Locker Rooms, Laundry Room, Lobby & Restrooms) ($17,500,000)

 

Churchill High School JROTC Facility Replacement and Construction of 2 Tennis Courts ($6,250,000)

 

Lee High School Building 100 Interior Renovations and Upgrades, New JROTC Facility and Campus Courtyard/Entrance, Science/Classroom Addition, Athletic Support Facility Addition and Tennis Courts Replacement ($47,985,000)

 

Plus, $1.5 million to replace chalkboard with white boards, $9.2 million to replace 100 buses, $64 million in technology, $2 million for sunshades, and $1.5 million for new elementary school gym floors.

 

A complete list of projects can be found here: http://www.neisd.net/ComRel/bond/documents/2011BondFlyer.pdf

 

Pros:  This is considered an equity package, bringing older schools up to the level of newer schools.  It also addresses growth by building one new middle school.  $400 million is a strong investment in education and construction jobs.

 

The impact on taxpayers is minimal.  The average home valued at $160,870

would see a tax increase in October 2012 of $72 ($6/month), and an increase in October 2013 of another $25 ($97 total compared to 2011)

 

Cons:  This bond package is large in a tough economy; white boards, shade structures, buses and technology have shorter lifespans than the bond

 

Thanks,

Blakely Fernandez

Legislative Chair

 

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