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All 9 Port Arthur charter propositions, including sale of six parks, pass

Port Arthur voters have passed all nine city charter propositions, including authorization to sell six parks and the creation of a Pleasure Island Department.

Proposition I, which passed with 64.47 percent of the vote, has given the city council authority to sell six parks — Carver Terrace, Civic, Felix & Milton Barker, Hughen, Immigrant and Montgomery — for fair market value. Officials with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department have said it doesn’t have enough workers to maintain all 35 of the parks and they hope to bring in funding to maintain the other 29. The final vote tally was 5,107 for Prop I and 2,814 against it.

Voters overwhelmingly approved of Prop F, which allows the city to create a Pleasure Island Department by ordinance and give the city manager control in the same manner as other departments. The final vote was 6,893 to 1,180, or 85.38 percent in favor.

Prop G, which passed 5,087 to 2,844 (64.14 percent in favor), will delete and amend sections 3 through 7 of Article XVIII (18) of the city charter to have members of the Pleasure Island Commission correspond with the total number of members of the council, which is now seven including the mayor. The sections previously gave the commission responsibility to have records audited and reports provided to the city, as well as addressed compensation of commissioners.

A look at the other successful propositions and their voting results:

  • A — Numbering councilmember positions (7,034 to 1,192; 85.51 percent in favor)

Beginning May 2023, the at-large position numbers will change from 7 and 8 to 5 and 6, respectively. Also, those elected to positions 5 and 6 in 2023 will serve a four-year term (those who have served from 2020-23 may not serve more than seven years in the same office).

  • B — Residence eligibility (7,691 to 571; 93.09 percent in favor)

The mayor and all councilmembers must be residents of the city for one year prior to the election and maintain residence in the city while in office. Each councilmember in the four districts must be a resident of the district (s)he represents for at least one year and maintain residence in that district while in office.

  • C — Mayor Pro Tem (7,033 to 1,133; 86.13 percent in favor)

Each councilmember, in order of district or position number, will serve as mayor pro tem for a one-year term.

  • D — Regular and special meetings (7,644 to 538; 93.42 percent in favor)

Either the mayor, city manager or three councilmembers (previously four) may request the city secretary to call a special meeting. Regular meetings of the city council will be held at times and places as set by ordinances. (They are presently videoconferenced due to the coronavirus pandemic.)

  • E — Governance of Sabine Lake and Pleasure Island (6,706 to 1,330; 83.45 percent in favor)

The governance of Port Arthur territory “in and under” Sabine Lake and Pleasure Island, including lands acquired or added to afterward, will be a subcomponent of city government.

  • H — Adoption of 1/8-percent tax (5,087 to 2,844; 64.14 in favor)

Voters have adopted a sales and use tax for the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation to promote and develop new and expanded business enterprises. The tax rate is one-eighth of 1 percent (0.00125%) and results in a total Type A sales and use tax of one-half of 1 percent (0.005%).

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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