Election day arrives: Voters to decide on school, water district bonds, council seats, horse racing

Published 12:15 am Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Residents in Mid- and South County will decide the fate of school and water control district bonds, a city council race, tax reallocation to fix roads, horse racing in the county and 10 constitutional amendments.

Early voting totals were lackluster with 3,857 voters casting ballots in person and 491 ballots mailed in for a total of 4,348 ballots cast from Oct. 21 to Nov. 1 spread out over 11 locations.

Rogers Park in Beaumont had the highest number of voters with 1,024 ballots cast with Groves Activity Building location coming in second with 768 ballots cast. Individuals are able to cast ballots in any of the 11 locations in the county during early voting.

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Election Day voting continues through 7 p.m. today (Nov. 5) at polling locations across the county.

Groves City Council

In Groves, the Ward 1 and Ward 3 seats are up for election. The Ward 1 race has Chris Borne, 40, pitted against newcomer Cindy Kreutzer, 59.

Borne was appointed to the seat in late November 2018 to fill the remainder of the term of former councilman Cross Coburn. Coburn lost the seat during a heated recall election.

The Ward 3 race pits incumbent and longtime councilman Sidney Badon, 63, against newcomer Barbara Edington, 55.

Port Neches

Voters in Port Neches will see a special election pertaining to street repairs though the reallocation of funds.

Proposition A calls for reducing the economic development corporation’s sales tax from one-half of 1% to one-quarter of 1% and reallocating the other one-quarter to provide revenue for maintenance and repair of city streets.

Port Neches Economic Development Corporation, which was formed in 2000, receives one half of 1 percent of sales tax. As a result the PNEDC collects about $450,000 per year that goes to a variety of economic development incentives and projects. The debt service the PNEDC is paying now is about $167,000 per year, which assisted in the sale of a portion of the riverfront property.

If voters approve the Proposition, the funding would provide an additional $200,000 to $250,000 beyond what the city currently budgets for the street repair and maintenance.

The funds won’t be there overnight though. Proceeds from sales tax will not be collected until March and the first rebate from that won’t be received by the city until June 2020.

Jefferson County Water Control and Improvement District No. 10

The folks in Jefferson County Water Control and Improvement District No. 10 — the area between Twin City Highway and U.S. 69 and between the cities of Nederland and Beaumont including Central Gardens and rural areas — will decide on a tax hike — the first one of its kind in 36 years.

The WCID is asking voters to approve an 8-cent-per-$100 valuation tax that would bring in approximately $226,000 annually. The current rate is 3 cents per $100 valuation.

The take hike would fund maintenance and purchases for the volunteer fire department for items such as bunker gear, fire hose and nozzles, rescue truck and more.

The proposition on the ballot is not for money to build a fire station or new building. A bond for a new fire station was passed a few years back but that was a separate tax.

Port Neches-Groves Independent School District

Voters in Port Neches-Groves ISD will decide on a $130 million bond that would reduce the number of elementary schools from seven to four by building new elementary schools in each city, two in Groves and two in Port Neches. Each town would have one PreK-2 campus and one 3-5 campus.

PNGISD voters passed a $123 million bond proposal in 2007 that focused on the middle schools and high school with $10.2 million going to high school stadium renovations.

Sabine Pass Independent School District

Sabine Pass voters will decide on a $150 million bond for construction, acquisition, renovation and equipment of school buildings in the district. This includes the purchase of school buses, software and technology, safety and security equipment and such other improvements in the district relating to facilities, for the purchase of real and personal property.

Jefferson County Special Election

Voters in Jefferson County are set to decide whether to legalize pari-mutuel wagering on horse races and legalize pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast races in the Jefferson County.

Pari-mutuel horse racing is on-track betting where you are physically on the location when bets are open. Simulcast is off-track betting where you can bet on races in other areas that are broadcast or not broadcast.

A location for the races and wagering has not been chosen at this time.