Early voting begins for May 12 elections
Polk County Enterprise, May 2007
LIVINGSTON — Polk County voters will begin heading to the polls Monday to decide on an amendment to the Texas constitution, a road tax referendum, select Corrigan city officials and school board members in Onalaska, Goodrich and Chester.
Early voting in each jurisdiction continues during normal business hours until Tuesday, May 8.
Voting in the proposed Texas constitutional amendment will be at the courthouse in Livingston and sub-courthouses in Onalaska and Corrigan. Clerks will be closed for lunch at the sub-courthouse locations. A Saturday voting period is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon May 5 at all three county sites.
The constitutional would give tax cuts to elderly and disabled property owners whose taxes were already frozen when the 79th Texas Legislature cut school property taxes in 2006.
Texas law allows ad valorem (property) taxes to be frozen when taxpayers reach age 65 or become disabled.
If passed, the amendment would reduce tax bills paid by elderly and disabled taxpayers for 2006 and 2007.
Supporters of the amendment said the reduction is only fair that elderly and disabled property owners receive the same proportion of tax relief that other taxpayers got in 2006.
Opponents say the 2006 measure was passed to provide relief to property owners who have had large tax hikes in recent years. Elderly and disabled taxpayers are shielded from such hikes.
The amendment is set to expire in 2009, so it would not apply to other cuts in property taxes.
Polk County voters will decide whether to authorize a 5-cent property tax that could only be used for county roads.
County officials estimate that the road tax would create $975,000 per year, enough to rebuild three miles of road each year.
The ad valorem funding solution was proposed because the county has reached the maximum sales tax that can be assessed, County Judge John Thompson said.
Issuing road bonds of $12, $16 or $20 million was also considered, Thompson said. But each of those scenarios would require more than 5 cents per $100 in property value to repay.
Qualified senior citizens or disabled property owners would not be subject to the additional tax, officials said.
Property owners with an assessed value of $50,000 would pay an additional $25 per year if the road tax passes, officials said.
Eight people have filed for the three positions on the Goodrich school board.
Melvin Leggett, a three-term incumbent and current vice-president of the board, is unopposed in his re-election bid for Position 5.
Position 6 is currently vacant and Tom E. Messner, Kelly Sims Nelson and Rev. Tim Harrell are vying for the post.
Calvin Plank is facing off against three-term incumbent Brenda Bennett for position 7.
Position 1 incumbent Sherry Winkle and Position 2 trustee Caryn Price are unopposed in their bid for an additional term.
Position 5 trustee Tom Curran is challenged by Cynthia Sisk.
Corrigan City Council
The City of Corrigan has one contested race between Position 5 incumbent Martha Wright Barthold and Christopher Pelletier.
Incumbents Leslie Jones Bucks and Lou Eaton face no opposition for positions 1 and 3.
Six candidates are seeking seats on the Chester I.S.D. Board of Trustees.
Incumbents Morgan Wright, Steve Havis, Ray McKnight and Vonda Tolar are seeking re-election. Jake Davis, Jeannie Johnson and Doyle Wayne Woodrum have filed for at-large positions.