Voters say no to home rule charter for Presidio; Olivas, Zubia elected to council

PRESIDIO – The City of Presidio’s form of city government will remain the same. The “Home Rule” charter failed by two votes during Saturday’s General Election.

“It was a close race on the Home Rule charter,” said Brad Newton, Presidio Municipal Development District Executive Director. “Who says a vote does not count.”

The residents voted against the measure by 84-82. If passed, the new charter would have changed Presidio from its current Type A General Law Municipality to a Home-Rule Municipality. This allows a city with over 5,000 residents to take action that is in the best interest of the citizens that is reasonable and doesn’t violate state or federal Constitutions or laws, such a changing the way city council members are elected.

City Manager Jose Portillo thinks it didn’t pass because people were leery. The new status would have given the city more control, and he can see why people were hesitant to vote for it. He feels the city could have done a better job at getting the information about the home rule to the voters.

“If you don’t give people information, they fill in the blanks and they fill in the blanks with something scary,” said Portillo.

Portillo said the home rule measure will be back on the ballot in a future election, and hopes the city will be better prepared by distributing pamphlets with a better understanding between the two types of municipalities as well as host meetings for voters to ask questions.

“It’s still an issue that needs to be resolved,” said Portillo. “I could be wrong and we could come back after a year of doing public meetings and passing out pamphlets, and people could come back stronger and not want it.”

In the council member elections, voters sent Irvin Olivas and Rogelio Zubia to serve on the city panel for a two-year term.

Olivas received 118 votes, or 42 percent of the vote, and Zubia received 111 votes, or 39 percent

Candidate Jeffrey A. Roberts received 54 votes, or 19 percent.

The new council members will be sworn into office at the next city council meeting.

Incumbent Mayor John Ferguson received 119 votes in his uncontested race and will serve another term in office.

The votes will be canvassed on May 14.

The four candidates for the Presidio ISD school board election ran uncontested, so that election was canceled.