Nine out of 10 state amendments pass
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Voters in Kaufman County voted to approve Propositions A, $104.1 million bond for road and transportation improvements and B, which proposes $50 million for facilities to include a new justice center as well as improvements to existing facilities.
Proposition A passed 8,780 to 2,902 and B passed 7,435 to 4,189. Kaufman County Judge Hal Richards said in a press release,” On behalf of the Kaufman County Commissioners court and the entire Kaufman County organization, we want to express our appreciation for the overwhelming support of both the transportation and the facilities bond propositions. Kaufman County leadership is hard at work today and in the coming days to clearly identify and plan the next steps to bringing these improvements to life.”
The transportation bond will fund four countywide projects including frontage road improvements on U.S. Highway 175 to improve safety, 14 projects in Precinct 1, seven in Pct. 2, eight in Pct. 3 and 24 projects in Pct. 4 which accounts for the greatest area in the county. In the 2019-20 Precinct 4 Road Report, Commissioner Ken Cates stated, “Over 73% of the roads in the precinct are in poor or fair condition.” Eleven of the projects are in the north end of the precinct where much of the growth is centered. Kaufman County currently ranks as the third fastest growing county in the nation, according to 24/7Wallst.com, the period of time being measured from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018. This was a statistic heavily advertised in the bond proposal information circulated by the county as well as area cities supporting the propositions. The county plans to take advantage of matching funds from TxDOT to get more done with less money.
Proposition B will fund facilities including a new Justice Center to be built adjacent to the Law Enforcement Center built in 2003-04 with a tunnel to transport prisoners safely to courtrooms, eliminating the mixing of prisoners with victims and witnesses that occurs presently. The justice center will house six courtrooms, chambers and judicial offices. The District Attorney, District Clerk, County Clerk, Justice of the Peace Pct.1 and Constable Pct. 1 would be located in that building. Other facility improvements included are renovations to the current county courthouse, an emergency service center in Forney, improvements to the sub-courthouses in Terrell, Kemp and Forney and the long-awaited Regional Animal Shelter.
On the ballot for the State were 10 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution, one of which was voted down. Proposition 1 (HJR72) - This constitutional amendment would have permitted a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time. The proposition was defeated with 65.44% voting no.
The following amendments passed:
• Proposition 2 (SJR 79) The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas. 1,285,397 to 673,306
• Proposition 3 (HJR 34) The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster. 1,667,110 to 292,031
• Proposition 4 (HJR 38) The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income. 1,467,994 to 504,848
• Proposition 5 (SJR 24) The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality and history by acquiring, managing and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes. 1,732,331 to 236,251
• Proposition 6 (HJR 12) The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. 1,250,089 to 703,157
• Proposition 7 (HJR 151) the constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund.1,449,333 to 506,142
• Proposition 8 (HJR 4) The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation and flood control projects.1,527,394 to 435,184
• Proposition 9 (HJR 95) The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state. This passed by a very narrow margin. 977,272 to 916,513
• Proposition 10 (SJR 32) The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances. This proposition saw the greatest disparity in the numbers, with a resounding 93.75% voting yes. 1,845,766 to 123,032
In Henderson County, the City of Tool held a special election to add 1% to the sales tax, making the total 8.25%, equal with most area cities. The city saw this as an easy way to raise money for road improvements, considering that some of the burden would not fall on their citizens but come from visitors to the area who shop at local stores. The proposition passed, 182 voting yes and 86 against the measure. The sales tax increase is expected to generate $100,000 for the city, designated for road repair.