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April 7, 2013

Critical decisions rest on May election outcomes

Thursday is deadline to register; Early voting to begin April 29

GREENVILLE — There is a lot on the line on the May 11 election ballots in Hunt County.

Greenville residents will be deciding the fate of a proposed YMCA/event center, millions of dollars in street and road repairs, dozens of proposed amendments to the City of Greenville Charter and who gets to sit in one of the City Council spots.

Voters in Campbell will be deciding whether to allow the sale of alcohol at local stores, as well as whether to increase the local sales tax.

And there are multiple city council and school board elections across the county.

But anyone wanting to vote on May 11 also needs to register.

Thursday at 5 p.m. is the deadline to register to vote, or to make a change of address to be effective for election day, through the Hunt County Voter Administration Office, 2217 Washington Street in downtown Greenville.

Early voting for the elections is scheduled between April 29 and May 7.

Texas residents are eligible to vote if they are a United States citizen, at least 18 years old on Election day, not a convicted felon (unless the sentence, probation, and/or parole have been completed), and not declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law.

— Two bond measures will be before Greenville voters on the May 11 election ballot; one calling for the reconstruction of nine local streets and the other for the construction of a new YMCA/event center project. If approved, the street bond package would require the issuance of $12.6 million in bonds to pay for rebuilding local roads which city engineers have identified as needing the most work, while $15 million in bonds would go toward paying for the new YMCA/event center. The road bonds could add 5.13 cents to the city’s property tax rate, while the YMCA/event center could add as much as 7 cents, although organizers of the project say they have received commitments from several entities toward the cost of the facility which could reduce the potential tax burden. Dr. Jerry Ransom has agreed to donate $1 million to the YMCA project if it meets the approval of local voters. Ransom said he was pledging to pay 10 annual installments of $100,000 each. When combined with similar pledges from other community partners, the funds are expected to reduce the overall taxpayer burden from 7 cents per $100 valuation to 3 cents .

— Originally, the Council had considered selling up to $30 million in bonds to pay for work on 13 streets in Greenville. The proposition which will appear on the May 11 ballot calls for rebuilding Stonewall Street between Mockingbird Lane and the Interstate 30 frontage road, Sayle Street between Kari Lane and the frontage road, and Webb Street between Sayle and Wesley Streets during the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Stonewall Street from Park to Stanford and Wellington Street from Joe Ramsey to Lee Street would be rebuilt during the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Ridgecrest Boulevard from Canton to Sayle Streets, Morgan and Bourland Streets north and west of Carver Elementary School and Live Oak Street from Bonham to Nashville would be rebuilt during the 2015-2026 fiscal year.

— There will be an election next month to fill one spot on the Greenville City Council. The incumbent in Place 1, Dan Perkins, will face Tyson Cox on the May 11 ballot. James Evans is unopposed in seeking Place 2 on the Council.

— The Council also called for a Charter amendment election, which would include 30 propositions to change the document which regulates how the City of Greenville operates. Among the proposed changes is the addition of a new section, “General Definitions” to the Charter, which would specify that in terms of voting, a majority of the Council would be four out of the seven members, a “simple majority” would mean one more than half of the Council members present during a meeting and a “super majority” would be five of seven Council members. Under the proposed Charter, it would take a majority vote of the Council to remove the City Manager, City Secretary, City Attorney or Municipal Judge.

The Citizens Charter Review Committee also recommended specifying that the City Attorney does not serve as the attorney of record for the Board of Development or GEUS, that each year’s budget can be passed by a simple majority vote, extending the period under which citizens can file for a referendum vote from 30 days to six months after the passage of an ordinance and allowing members of the GEUS board to live outside of the city limits of Greenville.

— Unlike most recent alcohol-related elections in Hunt County, Campbell residents will be deciding on more than just beer and wine sales. The May 11 election in the city will be to decide “the legal sale of all alcoholic beverages for off premise consumption only.” In other words, the election would determine whether residents would approve the sale of liquor, as well as beer and wine, in stores. The City of Campbell currently charges a sales tax of 1.25 percent, which generated a sales tax rebate revenue for the city this month of $2,303.05, representing an increase of 32.38 percent from the $1,739.71 collected in March 2012.

— Cities in Hunt County conducting municipal government elections May 11 also include Campbell, Celeste, Lone Oak, Quinlan, Union Valley and Wolfe City.

— Hunt County school districts conducting school board elections May 11 include Caddo Mills, Campbell, Commerce and Lone Oak.

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