Early voting in the Texas constitutional election and Valley View Independent School District and North Central Texas College bond elections ends this week.
Election day is Tuesday. Early voters can still cast ballots through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Cooke County Annex Building, 112 S. Dixon St. in Gainesville.
And early voting in the Valley View Independent School District bond election — which also has an election day set for Tuesday — is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, in the lobby of the gymnasium at Valley View High School, 700 S. Frontage Road in Valley View.
Recapping the election issues
• Valley View Independent School District administrators called a bond election during a regular school board meeting on Aug. 22, approving that district voters make their choice on Nov. 5. If approved, taxpayers will appropriate a $9.8 million bond payment through an increase in ad valorem taxes among district residents. The campus renovation project totals $14 million — with $4.2 million of the amount funded locally. On May 11, a very similar bond proposal failed by 11 votes; 293 voters declined the bond while 282 voters supported it. The bond proposed for approval in November would provide extensive changes to the Valley View ISD high school and middle school. This includes unified entrances, handicapped access, secondary classroom buildings, connection for security, new science laboratories and classrooms, family and consumer science lab and a new gymnasium. Improvements to the elementary school proposed include new unified entrances, handicapped access, new classrooms and connecting existing buildings for security. The bond also includes funds for a new agriculture science and project center that will include an exhibition hall, livestock buildings and secure bus parking. These suggested changes to the Valley View ISD district campus were part of a highly-debated proposal in May, with a nearly equal number of voters who turned out on election day supporting and rejecting them. But if the bond passes, renovations may begin during the end of 2013, and carry extensively through 2014.
• A special North Central Texas College election proposes a $14.8 million bond, earmarked for three facility upgrades to the NCTC Gainesville campus. The current bond would be aa scaled-down version of a $30.7 million proposal that failed to pass in November 2011. That earlier proposal included the development of a new health science center, a new student and academic support center, a new agriculture building, a new campus parking lot and the renovations needed to turn a current campus building into a student activities center. The current bond, if passed, would pay only for the health center, parking lot and expansions to the campus career technology center.
Proposition Number 1 — House Joint Resolution (HJR) 62
HJR 62 proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to provide by statute 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 United States armed services who is killed in action, as long as the surviving spouse has not remarried. An eligible spouse who later qualifies a different property as the surviving spouse’s residence homestead could be authorized by statute to receive an exemption from ad valorem taxation in the same amount received for the first qualifying homestead during the last year in which the surviving spouse received the exemption.
Proposition Number 2 — HJR 79
HJR 79 proposes a constitutional amendment to repeal the constitutional provision requiring the creation of a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund, neither of which is in operation. No new loans have been made from the fund by the board in more than 25 years, and the board currently has no appointees and receives no program funding.
Proposition Number 3 — HJR 133
HJR 133 would authorize local political subdivisions to extend the length of time that aircraft parts could remain temporarily in this state before being subject to ad valorem taxation.
Proposition Number 4 — HJR 24
HJR 24 proposes a constitutional amendment that would allow 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 at no cost to the veteran by a charitable organization.
Proposition Number 5 — Special Joint Resolution (SJR) 18
SJR 18 would amend the definition of “reverse mortgage” to authorize the making of reverse mortgage loans for the purchase of homestead property in addition to the current legal uses of those loans, and would give lenders recourse against borrowers who fail to timely occupy the homestead properties purchased with such loans. SJR 18 would also add to the definition of “reverse mortgage” an extension of credit that is not closed before the 12th day after the lender provides to the prospective borrower a written notice summarizing risks and conditions of a reverse mortgage.\
Proposition Number 6 — SJR 1
SJR 1 would create the State Water Implementation Fund as a special fund inside the state treasury and outside the General Revenue Fund. Money in the fund would be administered by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and would be used to implement the state water plan, as adopted by general law, by TWDB.
Proposition Number 7 — HJR 87
HJR 87 proposes a constitutional amendment to allow home-rule municipalities to adopt charter provisions authorizing the filling of vacancies in the governing body by appointment, but only when the remainder of the vacant term is less than 12 months. Under current law, municipal voters may adopt terms of office for municipal officers longer than two years, but upon approving longer terms of office, any resulting vacancies in office must be filled by special election. The proposed amendment would provide an option for home-rule municipalities to fill short-term vacancies through appointment.
Proposition Number 8 — HJR 147 and SJR 54
HJR 147 would repeal the Texas Constitution’s maximum tax rate for a Hidalgo County hospital district; the maximum rate is currently set at 10 cents per $100 valuation. This rate is lower than the maximum tax rate allowable for hospital districts in all other counties in the State (75 cents per $100 valuation). The repeal of the constitutional cap would authorize hospital district tax rates in Hidalgo County equal to the hospital district tax rate laws applicable to all other Texas counties.
Proposition Number 9 — SJR 42
SJR 42 would expand the potential sanctions that the State Commission on Judicial Conduct can issue following a formal proceeding. This constitutional amendment would allow the Commission to issue an order of public admonition, warning, reprimand, or a requirement to obtain additional training or education in addition to the Commission’s current authority to issue a public censure or recommend removal or retirement of a judge.
For more information on the election, visit www.VoteTexas.gov. For more local election information, visit www.co.cooke.tx.us or www.nctc.edu.