May 3, 2023 821 PM
PRESIDIO COUNTY — Citizens will have a chance to elect local city council and school board members, and decide whether or not to fund the county’s groundwater conservation district, in the General Election this Saturday, May 6.
Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Residents of precincts 1 and 7 will be required to vote at Marfa City Hall in the Casner Room, while residents of precincts 2-6 will vote at the Presidio Activity Center.
The Big Bend Sentinel will post General Election results as soon as they become available on Saturday evening on our website, bigbendsentinel.com, and on all social media platforms, @bigbendsentinel.
Early voting ran from April 24 through May 2. So far, voter turnout in the City of Marfa election was 225 individuals, or 15 percent of the voters registered within the city. The City of Presidio saw 280 voters. The county saw a total of 508 voters decide on Proposition 1, the groundwater conservation district ballot item.
Proposition 1 — Presidio County Underground Water Conservation District
For Proposition 1, voters will decide whether or not to allow the Presidio County Underground Water Conservation District to become a taxing entity. The district, made up of a board and general manager, currently oversees well-drilling permits and operating permits for commercial entities, and is increasing water-level monitoring efforts to ensure the future of the area’s water supply.
The district has operated from a budget from the county commissioners since its inception in 1999. To ensure citizens will not be impacted by an increase in taxes, the district has entered into an agreement with the county to lower their tax rate, offsetting a potential new tax. The district may levy a property tax not to exceed $0.05 per $100 of assessed property valuation and will work with the county tax assessor-collector to determine what the tax rate would need to be in order to get their required budget — currently around $51,000.
The PCUWCD has released a series of educational videos on various groundwater topics in the lead up to the election, which can be found on their website, pcuwcd.org.
City of Marfa
Marfa City Council is made up of a mayor, who serves a two-year term, and five council members, which serve two-year staggered terms. In the upcoming election, the seat of Mayor Manny Baeza will be up for election, as will the seats of council members Irma Salgado and Raul Lara.
Incumbent Baeza is running for the role of the mayor of Marfa, which if elected would be his third term. According to the city secretary, the other mayoral candidate, Stephen Salgado Boelter, withdrew from the race on April 19, citing family matters.
However, according to state law, it is too late for Salgado Boelter’s name to be removed from the ballot. If he wins the election, he will have to decline the office of mayor, leaving the city with a vacancy which council would fill via appointment.
For the council member seats, current Councilmember Lara is running for reelection, along with new candidates Travis Acreman and Christa Marquez. Voters will be instructed to select up to two out of the three council member candidates. For the other seat, Mark Morrison is running unopposed, and so is declared elected for a one-year term.
After May 6, newly-elected council members take office in late May or early June. There were no contested Marfa ISD School Board positions, so the district will not participate in the election with the city.
City of Presidio and Presidio ISD
The role of the mayor of Presidio is up for election, with incumbent John Ferguson and Angel Miguel Campos vying for the position. Two council member seats will be up for election, with voters choosing up to two out of three candidates: incumbent Arian Velazquez-Ornelas, incumbent Nancy Arevalo, and Todd Beckett.
Trustees are at-large and do not represent specific districts, meaning voters will choose four out of the eight candidates that appear on the ballot.