Polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Voting locations for the bond election will be completely different from the normal polling places for Gilmer school-related elections because the school and county are holding joint voting in the bond and amendment elections.
Early voting ended in Gilmer Friday for both the bond issue, which is only for residents of Gilmer ISD, and the statewide amendment election.
As of the close of voting Wednesday afternoon, some 1,025 persons had voted early in the bond election, said Gilmer ISD spokeswoman Judy Moore, while 660 had cast early ballots in the amendment election as of about 9:40 a.m. Thursday, said Deputy County Clerk Greg Dodson.
Only four polling places will be open Tuesday—the Glenwood Water Supply Corp. for residents of county Commissioner Pt. 1; Assembly of God in Gilmer for residents of Commissioner Pct. 2; the Pritchett Community Center for residents of Commissioner Pct. 3; and the Upshur County Library in Gilmer for residents of Commissioner Pct. 4.
Voters who are unsure which location they are supposed to go may call the County Clerk’s Office at 903-843-4015 or the Upshur County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office at 903-843-3089. Photo identification, such as a driver’s license or concealed carry license, is required for voting.
The bond issue, which would result in a 21 percent tax increase of 25.35 cents per $100 valuation if approved in full, is divided into three propositions on the ballot.
Proposition 1 would provide $30,690,000 for building a new 122,000-square-foot high school; razing the current high school, part of which was built in 1950 before undergoing renovation/additions; and renovating the first floor of the old vocational building to house the school district’s administrative offices.
Passage would raise the tax rate about 21.5 cents.
Proposition 2 includes $3,365,000 for adding science, fine art and self-contained classrooms at Bruce Junior High to replace a building reportedly erected in the 1960s, and providing more parking at the elementary and intermediate campuses. Passage would raise the tax rate about 2.5 cents.
Proposition 3, which would be approved only if both it and Proposition 1 pass, would provide $2,155,000 for a multipurpose facility at the high school to be used for various extracurricular activities and other potential functions. Passage would raise the tax rate about 1.5 cents.
A tie vote on a proposition would result in passage.
Among reasons which school officials have cited for proposing the bond issue are the current high school’s age, the high cost which would be required for renovating its roof and air conditioning/heating system, and inadequate science laboratory facilities and bathrooms.
Supporters also cite current low interest rates and contend that waiting longer to build would result in a facility costing more than the proposed $30 million.
Bond issue opponents have argued against the tax increase, say the bond issue is too large, contend renovation is a better option, and have particularly criticized the proposed multipurpose facility as unnecessary.
A summation of the proposed Constitutional amendments is as follows:
Number 1—Allows partial or full property tax exemption for surviving spouse of a military member who is killed in action; Number 2—Eliminates obsolute requirement for State Medical Educational Board and a State Medical Educational Fund, neither of which is operational; Number 3—Allows extending the tax exemption period on storing aircraft parts in Texas.
Number 4—Allows partial ad valorem tax exemption for the homesteads of partially disabled veterans, or surviving spouses of such a veteran, if the home was donated to the veteran by a charitable organization; Number 5—Allows making certain reverse mortgage loans.
Number 6—Creates funds for water-related projects; Number 7—Allows a home-rule city (such as Gilmer) to fill a vacancy in its governing body without an election is the unexpired term is 12 months or less; Number 8—Repeals a part of the state Constitution limiting the tax rate for districts in Hidalgo County, thus allowing voters there to create a hospital district; Number 9—Expands the types of sanctions that may be assessed against a judge or justice by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.