Voters go to the polls Saturday
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
May 08, 2014 | 627 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Voters in three Upshur County cities and the New Diana Independent School District on Saturday will either decide the fate of a proposition and/or elect at least one City Council member.

Voting hours in all contests are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and voters must present a photo ID. Early balloting concluded Tuesday night.

Saturday’s elections include a $15 million school bond issue proposal in New Diana ISD, City Council races in Big Sandy and Ore City, a vote on renewing a sales tax in Ore City, and two propositions involving legalizing beer and wine sales in the Gilmer city limits. (See separate story on the Gilmer election.)

All other cities and schools centrally located in the county either canceled their elections, as permitted under state law when no races are contested, or hold their elections in November. In addition, a major school bond issue election is set Saturday in Gladewater ISD, which is partly in Upshur County.

While New Diana ISD has no school board election until November, voters Saturday will decide whether to approve a bond issue which School Supt. Carl Key said would raise taxes by a maximum of 37 cents per $100 valuation. At issue is whether to authorize “the issuance of bonds in the amount of $15,000,000 for the construction, renovation, acquisition and equipment of school buildings and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.”

The proposal has drawn both visible support and opposition in yard and roadside signs sprinkled throughout the community, with both sides’ signs referring to the school district as “Eagle Nation”—a reference to the school’s athletic teams’ nickname, Eagles.

Election day voting is set at the administration building. As of roughly 8:50 a.m. Tuesday, some 375 early ballots had been cast, a school spokeswoman said.

In Ore City, voters decide whether to renew a one-fourth of one percent sales tax for street repairs, and will elect a City Council member to fill out the 1-year unexpired term of Bonnie Caldwell, who recently died. The election for mayor and three council seats with full terms was canceled since they were uncontested.

In an unusual situation, Councilwoman Jeannette Orms, a 55-year-old insurance agent, decided to seek the 1-year term rather than seek reelection to her current council seat, which is up for election to a full term. Her opponent is Steve Heim, 41, an emergency medical technician.

Sean Morgan was unopposed to take Ms. Orms’s current council seat.

Voting will be at City Hall. As of Tuesday morning, only 16 early votes had been cast in the Ore City election, a city spokeswoman said.

In Big Sandy, three incumbents are among the four candidates for three at-large City Council seats.

The incumbents, seeking reelection to 2-year terms, are Monica DeCuir, 58, who is retired; Rex Rozell, 55, a right-of-way agent; and John Worden, 56, a plumbing contractor. The other candidate is Sue Jones, 73, who is retired.

As of shortly before 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, 22 persons had voted early in that contest, said a city spokeswoman. Voting is set Saturday at the new Big Sandy High School gymnasium, 403 N. Wildcat.
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