May 11, 2022 541 PM
TRI-COUNTY — Voters across Texas took part in elections this past weekend and overwhelmingly voted to approve two amendments to the Texas Constitution, both relating to homestead exemptions and property taxes.
Statewide, Proposition 1, which will continue to freeze and lower over time school property tax bills for those who are disabled or over age 65, passed with 87% of voters in favor of the amendment. Proposition 2, which will increase the general homestead exemption for public school taxes from $25,000 to $40,000, passed with 85% of the voters in favor of the amendment.
Unofficial results show that in Presidio County, out of a total of 245 votes, 88.57% of voters were in favor of Proposition 1, with 11.43% of voters against the amendment. Out of a total of 247 votes, 81.78% of voters were in favor of Proposition 2, with 18.22% of voters against the amendment.
In Brewster County, out of a total of 898 votes, 82.41% of voters were in favor of Proposition 1, with 17.59% voting against the amendment. Out of a total of 902 votes, 79.38% of voters were in favor of Proposition 2, with 20.62% voting against the amendment.
Unlike Brewster and Presidio county citizens, Jeff Davis County residents only participated in the county election and did not have any local issues on the ballot. Out of a total of 171 votes, 81.87% of voters were in favor of Proposition 1, with 18.13% voting against the amendment. Regarding Proposition 2, 85.38% of voters were in favor, with 14.62% voting against the amendment.
Similar to the rest of the state, voter turnout was low in the tri-county area. In Brewster County, 12.3% of registered voters turned out for the May 7 election. In Jeff Davis County, a similar 10.9% of voters participated in the election. Presidio’s was the lowest in the tri-county area, with only 5.74% of registered voters turning out for the county election.
City of Marfa
The City of Marfa held a special election in order to reauthorize a one-quarter of 1% sales tax for street and roadway maintenance and improvements. The quarter-cent tax must be reauthorized by voters every four years and has been in place since 2002. The reauthorization passed, with 109 voters in favor of extending the tax and 20 voting against the initiative.
Typically, the local May 7 election is a joint election between the city and school board in which voters decide on school board as well as city council candidates. But this year, the local joint election was canceled due to too few candidates.
With three expired seats on city council — that of councilmembers Yoseff Ben-Yehuda, Buck Johnston and Eddie Pallarez — only Pallarez chose to run again, and because he was unopposed, he will be appointed to serve another two-year term. Also unopposed is Mark Cash, who will fill in the other seat, leaving one vacancy on the council. Pallarez and Cash appeared on the ballot as “unopposed candidates declared elected.”
Once the new council is sworn in, in late May or early June, they will likely solicit letters of interest from the public in order to appoint the final councilperson. Alternatively, council could opt to hold a special election in November in order to fill the spot. The Marfa Independent School District Board of Trustees filled its positions and is operating with a full team.
City of Presidio
Presidio residents re-elected Mayor Pro Tempore John Razo and interim Councilmember Joe Andy Mendoza with 77 and 113 votes each, respectively. Steven “Nicky” Alvarez was elected to serve a full, two-year term on city council for the first time with 122 votes. Current councilmembers Arian Velázquez-Ornelas and Nancy Arevalo ran unopposed for unexpired one-year terms.
City of Alpine
In Alpine, the school district and city each held elections to determine new leaders. Just under 17% of Alpine’s eligible voters turned out for the mayoral election, and Catherine Eaves won with 416 votes over opponent Amit Rangra’s 322 votes. Rangra took a slight lead on election day, but Eaves’ supporters turned out in force for early voting — 299 voters cast ballots for Eaves in the weeks preceding the election, compared to Rangra’s 187 early votes.
Both city council members on the ballot — Chris Rodriguez and Martin Sandate — ran unopposed for their seats. Rodriguez took home 71 votes and Sandate earned 100 votes.
The Alpine Independent School District held an election in order to fill one board member seat for District 7. The only race on the ballot, candidate Mary McCallister ultimately won out, acquiring a total of 98 votes as opposed to opponent Elpidia R. Lujan’s 33. Voter turnout for the school board election was 11.6%.
Runoff elections, in which voters across the state will decide on a number of Democratic and Republican candidates for the November 2022 General Election, will take place on May 24. More information on the runoff elections can be found here.
There are no county-level races in the runoff elections for Presidio and Jeff Davis counties. In Brewster County, voters will decide on Democratic and Republican candidates for the County Judge position. Polling times and locations for the Brewster County runoff election can be found here.
The Big Bend Sentinel will post times and locations for voting in the May 24 runoff as they become available.